Publication of the Society for Science & the Public

# Question Sheet: The Wind in the Worlds

SCIENCE

1. Do you think there is weather on other planets? Why or why not?
2. Which planet is the warmest, and which is the coldest? Why?

1. Why do planetary scientists study the weather on other planets?
2. What is an atmosphere?
3. How does energy create wind?
4. How do scientists measure the speed of winds on other planets and moons?
5. What is particularly mysterious about Titan’s winds?
6. What is the dark spot on Uranus?

1. Do winds have a good or bad effect on your life? List two benefits and two
problems of having wind on Earth.
2. Why is an atmosphere necessary in order to have weather and wind?
3. How would you measure the speed of the wind outside of your home? Describe a
simple experiment that you could conduct to measure the wind speed.
4. How could studying other planets help scientists understand global warming?
5. Do you think that scientists were disappointed when they learned that the
weather on planets didn’t match their predictions? Why might scientists be
excited to discover that a prediction they made was incorrect?
6. Based on the weather conditions described, which planet would be the worst
for people to live on? Why?

SOCIAL STUDIES

What are the windiest places in the United States? Why are they so windy?

LANGUAGE ARTS

1. Pretend that you are the meteorologist (weather forecaster) for the whole
solar system. With a friend, write and act out a weather forecast.
2. On the Web or in newspapers, find five different descriptions of the
weather. Make a list of words that the descriptions use.
3. What is weather? Create you own definition of this term.

MATHEMATICS

Imagine that you are a planetary scientist, and you want to know how fast the wind is blowing on a moon that you have just discovered. So you drop a probe into the moon’s atmosphere. When the probe enters the atmosphere, it is falling straight down and it is directly above the center of an old meteor crater. The crater is 2 miles in diameter.

The probe falls for 20 minutes before it hits the moon’s surface. It lands 30 miles to the north of the northern rim of the meteor crater. How fast is the average wind speed in the moon’s atmosphere?