Ever wonder how the moon got all the dents and craters in it? Let’s find out!
CAUTION: Mess Express! The experiment has the potential to be messier that other experiments, but is so worth it!
Tip: This is a good activity to do outside.
- Cocoa Powder
- Large Rectangular Baking Dish (About 2 inches deep is best)
- Paper towel tube
- Meteors (These could be: Bouncy ball, rock, golf ball, etc.)
Step 1: Fill the baking dish about 1 inch deep with flour. Making sure to make a flat even surface.
- Tip: You can gently shake the baking dish back and forth to help to even out the surface.
Step 2: Cover the surface of the flour with a thin layer of cocoa powder so that no white shows.
Step 3: If you prepped the backing dish on a table, gently move the baking dish to the floor in an area you do not mind getting dirty. Try not disturb the cocoa powder and flour.
Step 4: Standing above the baking dish hold the paper towel tube at a slight angle to create a ramp. Place a “meteor” in the tube and let the “meteor” fall into the baking dish.
Step 5: Repeat step 4 3-4 times with different sized “meteors” and trying to aim them into different places with in your baking dish.
Step 6: Gently remove the “meteors” from their “impact craters” in the baking dish. Trying not to get your fingers in the flour.
- Tip: This might be a step for an adult or older sibling.
Step 7: Examine your “impact craters.” Are some bigger than others? What happened to the flour around your craters?
Science Behind It: In space there are bits of dust, rock and ice that have been left behind by comets and asteroids. These are what we call meteoroids. Meteoroids can range in size from a speck of dust to just smaller than an asteroid. When meteoroids drift close enough to a planetary body’s gravity they become meteors. As they travel through our planet’s atmosphere, they leave a trail of light, this is what we call shooting stars. Sometimes the meteors will hit a planetary body, when this happens, they form an impact crater. An impact crater is a round, bowl shaped indentation often surrounded by a ring, that is made when a meteor hits a planet, moon, or other space body. Often a meteor will explode on impact, leaving nothing but the impact crater behind.
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