Tour of the Solar System
Jet attempts to play the “Solar System” game with Sean, Sydney, and Mindy, but the kids don’t quite understand which planets go where. Celery, Jet’s mom, takes them on a tour of the solar system and introduces each of the eight planets
Learning Goals: The sun is at the center of our solar system, and everything else revolves around it. The sun, planets, dwarf planets, moons, and different kinds of space rocks like asteroids and comets are all part of our solar system.
Jet Cooks Dinner
Sydney, Mindy, Sunspot, and Sean help Jet cook a classic meal from Bortron 7 for his parents, Celery and Carrot. After some funny attempts, the kids find that using the Scientific Method works best to get the meal done in time.
Learning Goals: “Failure is not the opposite of success; failure is a stepping stone to success.” This attitude can be applied to cooking as well as scientific discoveries!
How We Found Your Sun
Jet explains how his family, the Propulsions, found Earth by way of the Sun, a star in the Milky Way galaxy. Celery takes the kids out into space and shows them how the Sun looks huge, or small like other stars, depending on your perspective.
Learning Goals: The sun is a star. Our sun is a star in the Milky Way galaxy, a yellow dwarf. The Propulsion family comes from another star in our galaxy: Bortron, a smaller, cooler red dwarf star.
Sydney, Jet, Sunspot, and Sean fix up a treehouse and make it into their own clubhouse/observatory. The kids even build their own telescope so they can all observe the awesome nighttime sky!
Learning Goals: An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light).
Round and Round
The kids learn how all the planets both orbit around the Sun and rotate on their own axes at the same time.
Learning Goals: The planets both revolve around the sun and rotate on their axis.
The Plant From Bortron 7
Jet attempts to grow a seed from his home planet, but the light from our Sun is stronger than the light from Bortron 7, and has a surprising effect on the plant!
Learning Goals: There are different kinds of stars, which emit different kinds of light.
Just the Right Distance From the Sun
Sean explains to the others that Earth is a “Goldilocks” planet because it’s not too hot and not too cold. When Celery takes the kids to space, they observe how the other planets don’t have the right attributes to support life, but Earth is “just right”!
Learning Goals: All life on Earth comes from the energy of the Sun. The Earth happens to be located just the right distance from the Sun: not too far away, and not too close. This makes the Earth what we call a “Goldilocks planet”: not too hot, not too cold.
Solar Power Rover
Jet, Sean, and Sydney visit their Mars Robot Rover friend at the DSA, and discover that the rover seems tired. Through helping the solar powered robot regain its energy, they learn how energy can be captured, used from the Sun, and used anywhere – even on Mars.
Learning Goals: The Sun creates solar power that is used for energy. Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly or indirectly.
How Come the Moon Has Craters?
The kids take a trip to the Moon and learn that falling asteroids probably created all the craters on the Moon’s surface!
Learning Goals: Craters on the Moon were probably caused by asteroids hitting the surface.
Backyard Moon Base
Led by Sydney, the kids build a moon base in Jet’s backyard and use their imaginations to figure out what challenges they would need to overcome in order to live on the Moon.
Learning Goals: A moon habitat is a structure on the Moon that would provide the right conditions to allow humans to live on the Moon’s surface.
How Come the Moon Changes Shape?
When Jet, Sydney, and Sean have a hard time trying to explain the phases of the Moon to Mindy, Jet’s parents, Celery and Carrot, offer to fly them out to space so they can see how the Moon changes shape depending on perspective.
Learning Goals: The Moon changes shape depending on its position relative to the Earth and Sun.
Night of a Bazillion Stars
Jet, Sydney, and Sean decide to have a sleepover in Jet’s backyard. They use Sean’s telescope to look at the night sky and learn why stars twinkle and planets don’t.
Learning Goals: Star and planet gazing. Stars twinkle because of turbulence in the atmosphere of the Earth. Planets do not twinkle the way stars do.
Mission to the Moon
Sean tells Jet, Sydney, and Mindy about the Apollo 11 mission, and the kids decide to do a real-life reenactment of man’s first mission landing on the Moon!
Learning Goals: The first manned mission to the Moon took place on July 20, 1969, and the first two humans on the Moon were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The astronauts were launched from a Saturn V rocket on the Apollo 11 mission.
Mindy's Moon Bounce House
Jet gives a special birthday gift to Mindy that allows her to defy gravity. She has so much fun hovering above everyone, the others have to convince her to come back to Earth in time for her party.
Learning Goals: Gravity is a natural phenomenon by which all physical bodies attract one another. Gravity gives weight to physical objects and causes them to fall towards the ground when dropped.
Beep Has the Blues
Beep is sad because her sister rover on Mars, Boop, is sick and can’t move. Celery flies the kids out to Mars to try to help and discover the problem – that Boop’s solar panels have been covered in dust.
Learning Goals: A planetary rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other celestial body.
Jet learns what chores are, and he and Sean help Sydney turn her chores into science games!
Learning Goals: Force is any interaction that tends to change the motion of an object. Force can also be explained as a push or pull.
A Kid's Guide to Mars
Celery and Carrot need to update their guidebook about Mars, and the kids join them on a trip to see how much things have changed on Mars in the last four billion years.
Learning Goals: Mars was once (4 billion years ago) a lot like Earth, with oceans, clouds and drinkable water. Something happened 3.7 billion years ago that turned Mars’ atmosphere from warm and wet to dry and cold.
Jet builds a robot version of himself, so that he can be in “two places at once!” But Jet learns what jealousy is when the other kids seem to be having more fun with Jet 2 than they are with him!
Learning Goals: A robot is an automatic mechanical device often resembling a human or animal. Humans build robots to perform the tasks humans can’t do, but people are still in control because they give instructions to the robots.
More than One Moon
Mindy is shocked to learn that there is more than one moon in the solar system. Celery flies the kids out to Mars so they can see what its two moons look like compared to ours.
Learning Goals: There is more than one moon in the Universe; in fact, there are hundreds of moons in our own Solar System. Mars has 2 moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are unusual in that they are not round like our moon, but oddly shaped, like battered potatoes.
Visit to Mom's Office
Sean and Sydney take Jet to meet Sean’s mom, a scientist, at the Deep Space Array. She explains that they’re looking for stars with their own systems of exoplanets to detect if there might be any that contain life. But will taking Jet out in public expose his secret identity?
Learning Goals: An exoplanet is a planet that doesn’t orbit the Earth’s sun, but instead orbits a different star in the Universe.
Mission to Mars
When Jet and Sydney interrupt Sean doing some training in his backyard to eventually lead a mission to Mars, Jet suggests they just have his mom fly them out to Mars. Is Sean’s concern about Martian dust devils legitimate?
Learning Goals: The next big frontier for human space flight is Mars. We have long range plans to get humans to Mars, but still have not solved some of the challenges, like what human inhabitants will do about the lack of oxygen and water, and the extreme temperatures.
Sean is trying to work on a science project for Space Troops, but is interrupted by his friends’ constant noise. His search for a quiet place to conduct his experiment leads him to the realization that sound is exactly what his experiments needed all along.
Learning Goals: Sound travels in waves like light or heat, but unlike them, sound travels through vibration. So, in order for sound to travel, there must be something for sound to travel through. Sound can travel through air, water, and solid objects, but not through space.
What's Up with Saturn's Rings?
Celery takes Jet, Sydney, and Sean on a trip to explore Saturn’s rings to learn what they’re made of.
Learning Goals: Saturn has more than 12 rings that are made of mostly ice. The ice pieces range from microscopic to very large chunks. The rings appear to be revolving with Saturn at the same speed but it’s thought that the individual rings revolve at different speeds.
Sunspot's Night Out
When Sunspot goes missing in the neighborhood, Sydney, Sean, and Jet use the North Star to navigate their way to where he is.
Learning Goals: The North Star is often used for navigation due to its constant position in our sky. It isn’t the brightest star, but unlike the other stars, it seems to remain at a fixed location in the sky.
The Grandest Canyon
When the Propulsions are forced to watch a slide show of the Petersen’s vacation to the Grand Canyon, they’re inspired to take their own trip to Mars to explore Valles Marineris—the largest canyon in the Solar System!
Learning Goals: Mars has deeper canyons than our own Grand Canyon on Earth. The deepest canyon in our solar system exists on Mars, called Valles Marineris.
A Visit to the Planetarium
Sean and Sydney take Jet to the DSA to see a show at the Planetarium. But things take a fun turn when Jet decides to upgrade the show with some Bortronian technology and sings a song explaining how to find Earth in the Milky Way galaxy!
Learning Goals: Our sun is actually a bright star out on a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is made of billions of other stars, and our galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies.
A Visit from Uncle Zucchini
Celery’s brother, Zucchini, and his pet, Moonbeam, decide to visit the Propulsions, but get lost along the way. The kids have to figure out where on Earth he is. As it turns out, Uncle Zucchini never made it to Earth, but has landed on a place that sort of resembles Earth – Titan, Saturn’s largest moon! Titan has Earth-like features such as oceans, mountains, and an atmosphere.
Learning Goals: Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, and the second largest in the solar system. Titan has lots of conditions that make it similar to Earth, including an atmosphere with clouds and a golden haze, and liquid oceans.
Mindy's Weather Report
Mindy and Sunspot, watching a weather report broadcast on FACE 9000’s screen, learn of a huge storm system on Saturn. When the other kids hear about it, they mistakenly assume the storm is somewhere local. Mayhem ensues as the misinformation spreads and everyone rushes around to prepare, while Mindy meanwhile “broadcasts” her own weather report from Jet’s house.
Learning Goals: Earth is not the only planet with storms! Although we have big hurricanes here that typically last up to a week, Saturn is home to a hexagonal group of hurricanes locked into place around Saturn’s north pole, that may have been going on for hundreds of years.
Ice Moon Enceladus
Sean sets up a sno-cone stand to help raise money to send a spaceship to Mars. But it’s the hottest day of the year and he quickly runs out of ice, and he can’t find any nearby. Then Jet has an idea where they can go to get some ice—Saturn’s ice moon, Enceladus!
Learning Goals: Enceladus is a small moon of Saturn that contains a liquid ocean underneath an outer layer of ice. It has “ice volcanoes” that shoot geyser-like jets of water vapor into space. Some of the water vapor falls back as “snow” and the rest escapes, which supplies most of the material making up Saturn’s E ring.
What Goes Up...
Jet builds a mini-flying saucer in his garage and wants to test it, but to succeed, he has to learn what gravity is and how it works.
Learning Goals: Gravity is an invisible pulling power that every object has—planets, moons, stars, and YOU. Gravity pulls all objects in the universe toward one another. The bigger and heavier an object is (the more mass it has), the more gravity it has.
Solar System Bake-Off!
Mindy and Carrot are entering a cooking competition and are making desserts representing the different planets of the Solar System. But they hit a bump when they can’t remember if Saturn is cold on the inside and hot on the outside… or the other way around. Jet, Sydney, and Sean fly with Celery out to Saturn to find out before the competition begins, so Mindy and Carrot can finish their entry in time!
Learning Goals: The planets in our solar system can be divided into two categories -- terrestrial (inner planets) and gas (outer planets). Saturn is a gas planet that seems to have a hot solid inner core of iron and rocky material surrounded by an outer core probably composed of ammonia, methane, and water.
Jet builds an electric engine from scratch for the annual soapbox derby competition, but Mitchell, determined to win the derby, is suspicious that Jet is using some alien technology.
Learning Goals: An ion drive engine is a very fuel-efficient engine for space vehicles. Ion beams are capable of propelling spacecraft at up to 10 times faster than ships propelled by chemical rockets.
Asteroids, Meteors, and Meteorites
Sean is determined to beat his mystery competitor at a video game of “Astro-Tracker.” When Face 9000 tells the kids about the Asteroid Belt, Sean realizes that the best way to learn about asteroids is to see them for himself. Celery flies them out to space, and the kids learn the difference between an asteroid, a meteor, and a meteorite. Worried at first, Sean learns that only the rare asteroid (called a meteorite) makes it all the way to Earth, so he decides that he’ll become really good at “Astro-Tracker” to prepare for the future when he can be on a team of scientists who track rogue asteroids.
Learning Goals: Asteroids are small solar system bodies that orbit the Sun. Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma (fuzzy outline and tail) like comets do. A meteor is a small asteroid that burns up as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. A meteorite is a piece of asteroid that survives falling through the Earth’s atmosphere and collides with the Earth’s surface.
Mindy's Meteorite Stand
When Mindy and Sunspot are digging in the yard, they discover a unique rock that Mindy is convinced is a meteorite. The kids conduct a series of tests to find out and amazingly the rock passes each test. “Meteorite fever” grips the neighborhood, as Mindy sets up a stand so people can see her meteorite, and bring her rocks to assess. In the end, a DSA scientist confirms that Mindy’s rock actually isn’t a meteor… but, wait, the random rock Mindy’s sitting on is!
Learning Goals: Meteorites are pieces of space rocks (asteroids) that break up when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere and fall in small pieces. Meteorites are older than any rock from Earth, and share certain characteristics: density (high), attraction to a magnet, and rust.
The neighborhood is having a star gazing party when Mindy discovers what may be a new comet. While Celery takes Jet, Sean, and Sydney out to space to get a close-up look at the comet, Carrot and Mindy decide to surprise the others and make their very own comet in the backyard using ingredients from home!
Learning Goals: A comet is an icy body that releases gas or dust. Comets are often compared to dirty snowballs. Occasionally a comet streaks through the inner solar system, creating quite a show!
When Sean learns that asteroids are floating around the solar system (potentially), he decides to set up a homemade asteroid watch-station in the treehouse, and gets all the other kids involved. Eventually, Sean’s mother and her colleague at the DSA help Sean and the others understand how scientists monitor the skies for asteroids, a job that Sean doesn’t need to do all by himself.
Learning Goals: Asteroids are mostly found in the Asteroid Belt. Occasionally an asteroid can break away from the gravity of the Asteroid Belt and intersect with the orbit of the Earth. When a small asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor and burns up.
Mindy Pet-Sits Sunspot
Sean, Sydney, Jet, and Carrot head out to view the Northern Lights. Mindy, upset she can’t go, gets a boost – Sunspot stays back and agrees to let her be his pet-sitter. As the group in the saucer searches for, yet can’t find, the Northern Lights, Sunspot and Mindy work on a backyard project – making their own amazing backyard “Northern Lights” display!
Learning Goals: Northern lights (aka, aurora borealis) are a natural, awesome phenomenon. The origin of the aurora begins when a cloud of gas is ejected from the Sun’s surface. When it collides in Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen and nitrogen, it produces dazzling auroral light.
When the kids realize that they all want to use the treehouse at the same time for different activities, arguments break out. Mindy tries to help by creating a schedule for each kid to use the treehouse alone. In the end, the kids realize they need each other’s company and ideas in order to be successful in their own projects. In resolving their problem, the kids learn to think like the scientists on the International Space Station, who have to find a solution to the problem of getting along while doing different projects in a small space.
Learning Goals: The International Space Station (ISS) program is a great global human achievement in international cooperation. Countries work in partnership to support the experiments of scientists on the ISS, including observing space, growing plants in micro-gravity, and recording observations.
When Jet realizes that it’s the anniversary of Carrot and Celery’s first date, he wants to recreate that first picnic they had on one of Bortron 7’s moons. The kids all get involved to help create the perfect date night.
Learning Goals: It’s hard to have a picnic anywhere in the Solar System besides Earth – here we’re not too near or too far from the Sun, so the temperature is just right, plus we have liquid oceans and a breathable atmosphere. Anywhere else, you’d definitely have a hard time enjoying a picnic outdoors.
Face of the Fritz
When the kids are trying to build a new pet house for Sunspot and FACE 9000 gives them mixed-up directions, they learn that it is time for FACE 9000 to get upgraded. In the meantime FACE 9000’s “substitute,” the “DATA-BOX,” is an old Earth computer from the early 1980s. The kids need to learn how to give instructions in the way computers understand, putting them in charge of using technology in an active way. When FACE 9000 comes back, they have learned to appreciate him, as well as to be more independent thinkers.
Learning Goals: Technology has advanced greatly since the days of the giant computers that guided man to the moon in 1969. However, even though technology is very useful, it is still a tool, not an end in itself, and people still need to know how to monitor and program it.