Shop Windows to the Universe

Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.

Exploratour: NASA's Exploration for Life

Polar Bear
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Corel Photography

The Animal Kingdom

Our view of "Life", that is life as we know it on Earth, may bias our view of where life ought to be found elsewhere in the solar system. When you think of "life", what image comes to mind? A careful look at *all* the varieties of life on Earth may help us understand more about life's potential to survive in environments which are very different from that of the Earth.

First, life may be "multicellular". This means they are made of many cells, like a dog or cat. Or they may be made of only one cell, like bacteria. Second, most forms of life get their food by eating other organisms. Other life forms don't have to eat because they can use the Sun's energy to make their own food. All life forms seem to need oxygen to survive, but that is not always the case.

Here's a brief summary of life on Earth.

The Animal Kingdom

  • mammals
    • elephants, rodents, etc
  • arthropods
    • insects, crabs
  • reptiles
is multi-cellular and complex

The Monera Kingdom

  • bacteria
  • archaea
is procaryotic; unicellular, no membrane-bound organelle nor nuclei.

The Plant Kingdom

  • trees, flowers, etc
varies from multi-cellular to eucaryotic; unicellular, with membrane-bound organelle and nuclei

The Protista Kingdom

  • Amoeba, etc.
Protists can be unicellular, multicellular or colonial. Some move around and act like animals, others perform photosynthesis like plants

The Fungi Kingdom

  • athletes foot, etc
resembles animals; cannot make its own food through photosynthesis; consumes organic matter.



This is page 2 of 20

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects radiate in the infrared. The warmer the object, the higher the frequency and intensity of the radiation. Very hot objects give off other types of radiation in addition to infrared. Click...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

The awesome power of a giant black hole was revealed by looking at this galaxy in three different types of light. The picture that you see is of Centaurus A, a very peculiar galaxy. A galaxy is just a...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA