Question Sheet: Strange Neptune
- List three facts about the planet Neptune.
- Why does the author of this article describe Neptune as a "delinquent object"?
- What makes many of Saturn's moons unusual?
- Describe Triton's orbit and spin. See www.nineplanets.org/triton.html (Bill Arnett).
- Describe the challenges of sending a spacecraft to Neptune.
- What makes landing on Triton difficult?
- Atkinson says, "We study giant planets to look inside at ourselves and to look far away." What does he mean?
- How was Neptune discovered?
- What happened to the Voyager 2 spacecraft after it flew by Neptune and Triton in 1989? See voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/ (NASA) and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_2 (Wikipedia).
- Would you be in favor of funding a mission to Neptune? Why or why not? If such a mission were to take place, what do you think its scientific goals should be? See www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/N/Neptune_missions.html (David Darling).
- Neptune has rings. How do Neptune's rings differ from those of Saturn? See www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/neptune/moons_and_rings.html (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research).
- Why would astronomers have only recently discovered some of Neptune's moons? See cfa-www.harvard.edu/~mholman/neptunians-press-release.html (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics).
- Why are "artist's illustrations" often used to depict moons of Neptune? See filer.case.edu/sjr16/neptune_moons.html
Who discovered Neptune's moon Triton? When? Who discovered Nereid? How many moons did the Voyager 2 spacecraft find? How were these moons named? See solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Neptune&Display=Moons (NASA) and www.nasm.si.edu/research/ceps/etp/neptune/nept_moons.html (Smithsonian Institution).
- Imagine that it's 2033 and NASA's mission to Neptune has reached the planet. Write a brief newspaper article describing the spacecraft's arrival. Use the arrival of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn in 2004 as an example of what this event might be like. Include facts about Neptune and information about the mission's scientific goals. See http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20040728/Feature1.asp .
- Neptune's larger moons are named Triton, Proteus, Nereid, Larissa, Galatea, Despina, Thalassa, and Naiad. Each of these names refers to a character or type of being in Greek mythology. Pick one of these names and find out where it came from. Write your own version of this character's story.
On average, Neptune is 4,500,000,000 kilometers from the sun. Venus is on average only 108,000,000 kilometers from the sun. On average, how many times farther is Neptune from the sun than Venus is?
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