In 2004, an exciting new computer program was developed. Named "Celestia", it was a free open source space simulator that allowed a user to leave Earth, fly into space, and visit/orbit/explore a variety of beautiful places, including most stops in our solar system. It became a huge success. By 2017, millions of people worldwide were using it, and its volunteer developers had transformed it into an HD graphics powerhouse with over 2 million stars, 10,000 galaxies, our complete solar system of the sun, planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids and comets, close to 100 spacecraft, over 50 extrasolar planets, nebula, red supergiants, neutron stars, supernova, black holes, pulsars, and even entire worlds and spacecraft from Hollywood (e.g. - StarWars, StarTrek, Avatar, 2001, Space Odyssey to name a few). Collectively, the files and addons for Celestia have grown to in excess of 30 GB. Even NASA and ESA have used it in their control rooms to simulate spacecraft on their way to our planets.

Its developers also created an extensive set of 11 free Celestia Educational Activities, containing over 40 hours of detailed exploration to more than 400 space destinations. Each Journey is described in detail in a flight plan document, and represents both a complete set of instructions to students on how to operate and use the program, and a comprehensive description and discussion of the Astronomical features they are visiting. In some cases, a Journey can be used as the Primary teaching tool on that topic. For example, Activity 3 and 4 represent a detailed tour of our solar system, and together visit and describe all 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets and most of our system's key moons, asteroids and comets. Activity 7 and 8 examine over 30 of our famous spacecraft in depth. Thousands of Astronomy and Earth Science teachers have installed Celestia and these educational activities onto their school and home computers, and have left their classrooms or home behind to soar into space. It is a great visually graphic experience.

Celestia Educational Activities have just been updated for 2017, and are available free for all to enjoy. To do so, just visit http://www.celestiamotherlode.net/ca...ducational.php Directions for how to download and enjoy the activities are on the webpage.

Enjoy.