The vast, dark reaches of outer space are fascinating to adults and children alike, and the topic of the universe appears in science curricula across the country. Many children, particularly older students in middle and high school, are required to research one aspect of outer space and present a comprehensive report to their peers. Fortunately, thought-provoking space topics are nearly as numerous as stars in a clear night sky.
History and Future of Space Travel
The history of space travel is a good place to start when searching for a speech topic. Because this history is so expansive, an in-depth look at one aspect of space travel is the best approach. A biographical speech about Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin is a good topic for younger students. Older students can share information about Project Mercury, which was the first man-in-space program in the United States. The 12 flights that made up Project Gemini or the history of the Space Shuttle program are additional options. Looking to the future, older students may want to consider space tourism as a topic. For example, Virgin Galactic, an aerospace company, is working on a commercial spacecraft that will take passengers to the edge of space.
Facts About Space Objects
Younger students can present a fact-based speech about the sun, stars or individuals planets. A more in-depth analysis of the Milky Way or supernovas are ideas that older students can explore. Asteroids, meteors and comets are sure to intrigue as well. As a twist on space objects, a speech can explore space debris or space junk. Students can also speak about the potential danger that certain space objects, including space junk, pose to humans on Earth.
Weather in Space
Potential speech topics related to the weather conditions in space include sun spots and solar radiation, which are suited for younger elementary students. Older students can go more in-depth with a speech about geomagnetic storms, solar winds or coronal mass ejections, which are huge bubbles of gas ejected from the sun. Ultra-violet radiation from the sun, which interestingly is higher at the Licancabur volcano on the border between Chile and Bolivia than in Antarctica right below the hole in the ozone layer, is a potential speech topic for middle or high school students.
Despite the lack of concrete proof that extraterrestrials exist, based on the Library of Congress's Science Reference Services website, there is plenty of research on the topic that could be incorporated into a speech. Younger students can delve into the history of the search for alien life-forms. Older students can explore the Roswell incident, which is the story of an alleged UFO crash in Roswell, N.M., in July 1947. Older students might also enjoy analyzing the validity of alien abduction. An exploration of the signs that life could have lived on Mars makes another good speech topic.
- NASA: Human Space Flight
- Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight; Chris Dubbs and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom
- NASA: Near Earth Object Program
- National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center: Current Space Weather Conditions
- NASA: Astrobiologists Set UV Radiation Record
- NASA: Finding Alien Life: On Earth, on Mars and Throughout the Cosmos
- Space.com: Virgin Galactic's Spaceline Picture Coming into Focus
- Library of Congress: Science Reference Services: Extraterrestrial Life
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