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This is a series of three webpages about how humans and computers communicate. Learners will explore the binary and hexidecimal systems and how engineers use them to translate spacecraft data into images.
This is a game about data compression. Learners will use virtual foam balls to explore the different compression methods (lossless, lossy, and superchannel) used by the Earth Observing 3 mission.
This is a lesson about elemental spectra. Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar... (View More) spectra. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about emission spectra. Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering... (View More) program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is an lesson about spectrographs. Learners will build and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. After building the spectrographs, they observe the spectra of different light sources.... (View More) Requires advance preparation to spray-paint the inside of the containers black the day before construction. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about visual spectra. Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or... (View More) wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction grating acts like a prism, bending light into its component colors. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the value of exploring our solar system and others in the Universe. Learners will investigate, compare, and describe patterns in Solar System data. They will then hypothesize about the formation of the Solar System based on... (View More) data and explain how extrasolar planets can be discovered. In the first activity, the students investigate Solar System data to find clues to how our planetary system was formed. By the end of the activity, the students come to understand that other stars form just like the Sun, and, therefore, many stars could have planets around them. The second activity examines how scientists can find these extrasolar planets. By observing the behavior of a model star-planet system, the students come to understand that it is possible to see the effect a planet has on its parent star even if the planet cannot be seen directly. By comparing the properties of our Solar System with other planetary systems, we can gain a deeper understanding of planetary systems across the Universe. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the Discovery Program's exploration of the solar system. Learners will identify and communicate to others the varied space science explorations carried out by the Discovery Program and dig into one mission in depth. They can... (View More) then respond to a NASA Discovery Program Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to submit a mock proposal. Includes the award-winning video, "Unlocking Mysteries of Our Solar System." (View Less)
This is a DVD about asteroids and impacts in the solar system. Learners can watch a 7-minute video of the "lifetime" of a meteor. The narrated, subtitled program includes images of impact craters on planets and asteroids, visualizations of the... (View More) Asteroid Belt, animations of collisions between asteroids, an explanation of how collisions between asteroids can create fragments that reach Earth as a meteorite, visualizations of resonances in the asteroid belt, the perturbation of an asteroid fragment toward Earth, an explanation of how meteors that impact Earth might have obtained high and low impact velocities, and visualizations of the range of outcomes from impacts by meteors with different velocities and sizes. The goal is to provide engaging and scientifically accurate animations and images of impact processes in the solar system. The program is specifically designed to dispel commonly-held misconceptions and improve general understanding of solar system science among student's grades 5-12, as well as a broad lay audience. In addition to the 7-minute stand-alone video, the DVD also contains two interactives for Windows® and Macintosh® computers. The first interactive is a version of the above program that allows students and other users to view segments in any order through answering some of the most-commonly asked questions about asteroid impacts. The second interactive, "Make a Collision," allows users to simulate asteroid collisions, by selecting the parameters of collisions between asteroids and then seeing the results. The third interactive, "ImpactChallenge," provides additional experience with simulations Asteroid Belt impacts by giving users additional parameters that can be adjusted to make a wider variety of asteroid collisions. (View Less)