Question Sheet: The Wind in the Worlds


Before reading:

  1. Do you think there is weather on other planets? Why or why not? 
  2. Which planet is the warmest, and which is the coldest? Why?

During reading:

  1. Why do planetary scientists study the weather on other planets? 
  2. What is an atmosphere? 
  3. How does energy create wind? 
  4. How do scientists measure the speed of winds on other planets and moons? 
  5. What is particularly mysterious about Titan’s winds? 
  6. What is the dark spot on Uranus?

After reading:

  1. Do winds have a good or bad effect on your life? List two benefits and two

    problems of having wind on Earth. 

  2. Why is an atmosphere necessary in order to have weather and wind? 
  3. How would you measure the speed of the wind outside of your home? Describe a

    simple experiment that you could conduct to measure the wind speed. 

  4. How could studying other planets help scientists understand global warming? 
  5. Do you think that scientists were disappointed when they learned that the

    weather on planets didn’t match their predictions? Why might scientists be

    excited to discover that a prediction they made was incorrect? 

  6. Based on the weather conditions described, which planet would be the worst

    for people to live on? Why?


What are the windiest places in the United States? Why are they so windy?


  1. Pretend that you are the meteorologist (weather forecaster) for the whole

    solar system. With a friend, write and act out a weather forecast. 

  2. On the Web or in newspapers, find five different descriptions of the

    weather. Make a list of words that the descriptions use. 

  3. What is weather? Create you own definition of this term.


Imagine that you are a planetary scientist, and you want to know how fast the wind is blowing on a moon that you have just discovered. So you drop a probe into the moon’s atmosphere. When the probe enters the atmosphere, it is falling straight down and it is directly above the center of an old meteor crater. The crater is 2 miles in diameter.

The probe falls for 20 minutes before it hits the moon’s surface. It lands 30 miles to the north of the northern rim of the meteor crater. How fast is the average wind speed in the moon’s atmosphere?