Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!
Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!
Something New on the Horizon
Think you’ve had a long school year? Ready for a break? Well, just imagine what NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft must feel like! It’s been traveling more than nine years across our solar system to get to Pluto, and it’s finally going to reach its destination in July, ready to make all sorts of fascinating discoveries about this faraway dwarf planet. And then its job is done, right?
Not quite. It turns out Pluto isn’t the only object at the edge of our solar system. It’s part of a mysterious region known as the Kuiper belt, which is filled with icy and rocky objects that might be leftovers from when the outer planets in our solar system were created. New Horizons is expected to explore other Kuiper belt objects in addition to Pluto, to learn more about how our solar system formed.
But what’s beyond the Kuiper belt, out in the Milky Way—the galaxy in which our solar system resides? A lot! The Milky Way galaxy is so big that if you think of our solar system as being the size of a quarter, the diameter of the Milky Way is roughly the size of the United States! Then consider that the Milky Way is part of something even bigger: the Laniakea Supercluster. And, well, you get the idea. As it turns out, our solar system is kind of a little fish in a VERY big pond! And that means there’s a lot out there for future scientists to discover!
Think about it!
Did you know that New Horizons has a science experiment on board that was built by students? If you could design an experiment to send into space, what would it study? Where do you hope it would go?
Also check out these exciting New Horizons activities!
Image Credits: NASA