As NASA astrobiologists search for life, some are creating computer models to see many different possible habitable planets. In this activity, you too can test out a computer simulation as you try to find a combination that would produce a planet habitable to humans. If necessary, visit the other Astro-Venture modules for more information on what humans need to survive and how scientists are searching for habitable planets. Your goal is to design a planet that is habitable to humans. Please note: your planet should not be exactly like Earth.
You will choose your star type and six characteristics of your planet one at a time. The characteristics you are choosing will be described in the Feedback area. Click on the displayed subjects to learn more about your options. Once you have decided on your choice for a particular characteristic, enter it in the Selection Input Area, either by clicking on the appropriate button or by typing in your selected value (numbers should use decimals, not fractions). As you design your planet, your entries will be recorded for you in the Design Log. If you design more than one planet, you can scroll through your designs in the Design Log. Clicking the Meet The Scientists, Star / Planet Formation, and Virtual Planetary Laboratory buttons will open new browser windows with valuable background information.
Note: This is a text-based version of the Design A Planet module, best suited for people with very slow connections or those using a screen reader. It does require that at least version 8 of the Flash player be installed with your browser. For fully-animated versions of this module, go to Astro-Venture's main page for Design A Planet. If you are using a screen reader, you should automatically be taken to this page.