In this case study, students will analyze video and print resources to explore the characteristics and potential effects of near-space objects in our solar system on the Earth, use an online simulation to investigate the potential effects of an asteroid impact on Earth, and complete structured research to advocate a plan for how the world should deal with the threat of asteroids to the Earth in a mock United Nations Security Council debate.
Suggested Timing: 4-5 periods
Should the world develop a defense system against asteroids?
There are more than 10,000 Near –Earth Objects, including asteroids and comets, whose orbits pass close to the Earth. While the chances of a large (>1km) asteroid or comet impacting the Earth are remote, the consequences of such an event would be terrible. For instance, the 10km asteroid that impacted in the Yucatan peninsula 66 million years ago is widely believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.