Exploring the Universe: Ice Orbs

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    Exploring the Universe: Ice Orbs activity image

"Exploring the Universe: Ice Orbs" is a hands-on activity in which visitors investigate a frozen sphere, trying to learn about objects hidden inside. Participants learn that planetary scientists at NASA are investigating "icy worlds" in the outer solar system, looking for evidence of liquid water and possible signs of life beneath the icy surface.



Big Idea

Scientists believe that worlds with liquid water are the most likely places to discover extraterrestrial life. These "ocean worlds," however, may often be covered in a thick layer of ice, presenting a challenge to studying what lies beneath.

Learning Goals

Ocean worlds may be the most likely places to discover life beyond Earth.

Scientists think that ocean worlds have ice-cold frozen exteriors, and warmer, liquid interiors.

Some astrobiologists are studying ocean worlds for evidence and signs of life.


Year created

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AC67A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

The Science Museum of Minnesota


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.