Interstellar Trip Planner

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Every year when I try to explain to my students how large the universe is I find that they don’t really seem to grasp the size of the vast distances from one star to another. This year I stumbled across the Interstellar Trip Planner on the NASA website. This website allows you to select a destination and a mode of transportation. Using that information it calculates the time it would take to get to this destination. Today I used the website in class with my 8th grade students as we talked about stars and galaxies and it worked great. It captured their attention and made them really think about how long it would take to get to our neighbors in the solar system using modes of transportation they current think of as being fast. When I had one of my less-focused students ask me for the web address for the Interstellar Trip Planner so he could try it out at home I knew it was a great tool.

Joe

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