Design a planet

Space probes, robot landers and special telescopes are used to find out more about the stars, planets and moons in our solar system and beyond.

At the moment there is an amazing Robot Lander called Curiosity moving about on the planet Mars. It carries its own science laboratory and is trying to find out about the way in which Mars was formed and how it has changed over many thousands of years. The latest pictures seem to show channels in the rocks like dried up river beds which could have been made by flowing water. There are also smooth pebbles like we find at the seaside but there is no sea on Mars - perhaps there was once but it may have dried up a long time ago!

As you can see, we are still learning about the planets in our own Solar System and nobody knows what the other planets in our solar system and beyond might look like.

Here is a fascinating Science Challenge...

Design a planet and create models to show what it might be like on the surface.

It might help with designing your planet if you consider the following....

  1. A planet orbits a star which can give it light and heat.
  2. A planet can spin so that it can have night and day.
  3. A planet can have its own gravity which can hold an atmosphere around it.
  4. A planets gravity might even capture a moon and keep it in orbit.
  5. A planet can be struck by meteorites.
  6. A planet can be made from rocks containing all sorts of special minerals and even precious metals.
  7. A planet might have a core which is hot or even molten.

All of these things might affect the type of planet it is and what the surface might be like.

phobos probe

The Phobos space probe orbiting the planet Mars

curiosity rover

Curiosity Rover moves about on the surface of Mars taking photographs and performing experiments

Hubble st

The Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth above or atmosphere and free from the effects of dust particles and light pollution. It sends back amazing images from all over the Universe.


A Mars picture taken in 2012 by Curiosity Rover showing what could be a dried up river bed with sand and pebbles caused by flowing water.

Once you have designed your planet you can think of experiments to perform which help people find out more about it and what it might be like living on it!

eg. This is the planet Blutus (I invented it quite recently)

Bluton 1

I have made the planet model from a ball of plasticine. I have added features using small wooden dowels with various shaped tips to mold and shape the plasticine. I have made a giant volcano, or is it a crater made by a giant meteor which struck the surface and made a large hole?
There are other smaller craters on the surface of the planet too.

Our planet, Earth, spins around fully in a day. The planet Blutus spins too but only very slowly. It spins around once in a whole week! What a surprise when it slowly turned to reveal a gigantic gorge stretching about half way around its surface! How could it have been made?

Bluton 2

Is that a light shining on the surface of the planet? There must be a star, like our Sun, shining on it. Light from a sun will warm the planet but what about the other side of the planet?

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