KS3 Computing/Projects Ideas/Build a Solar System

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Exploring our galactic neighbours

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Space Shuttle rough idea

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The idea of this project is to step the student through building a moderately complex application. Each step builds on the last one. The entry level is fairly low, but there is lots of scope for exploring more complex ideas.

Program the following, with the existing skeleton application as a base for your model:

  • Calculate the fuel required to launch a space shuttle from Earth and break through the atmosphere.
    • Consider the volume of the fuel tank, the weight of the shuttle and the pull of gravity. We'll ignore the impact of air resistance for now.
  • The angle and timing of the launch to reach Mars.
  • Landing the capsule on Mars.
  • Exploring Mars for a suitable base for humans.
    • Consider how to do this in a fuel-efficient way.

Distances from the Sun

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  • Open the Solar System builder. In front of you is a model of the system with just the Earth and the Sun. The scale shows roughly how far apart they are from each other at any given time.

Insert interesting facts about the distance between the Earth and the Sun

  • Try adding Mars to the model. You might have to search the web to the find how far Mars is from the sun!

The data structure might look something like this:

[ { name: 'Sun', kmFromSun: '0' },
{ name: 'Earth', kmFromSun: '149600000' } ]
  • At this point, your model should be showing Mars, Earth and the Sun.
  • Add the rest of the Solar System's planets to the model.