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In this lesson, learners will use images to observe and compare the surfaces of two comet nuclei from close range. Separate teachers guides and students guides are provided. Supplementary resources needed for the lesson are provided and include... (View More) scientist and student audio tracks, and images of Wild 2, Tempel 1, and Hartley 2. (View Less)
Learners will investigate, compare, and describe patterns in Solar System data. They will then hypothesize about the formation of the Solar System based on data and explain how extrasolar planets can be discovered. In the first activity, the... (View More) 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. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the behavior of balls colliding with other objects. In Activity 2, the students use an... (View More) interactive online simulation tool to explore the various ways in which gravity assists can be used to aid space exploration. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
Learners will investigate various ways to improve mission design to maximize the scientific return. In the first activity, students examine how the use of flowcharts can help make computer programs error-free and efficient, in this way making the... (View More) spacecraft more reliable. In the second activity, the students investigate how data can be compressed for transmission over limited bandwidth. By the end of the lesson, the students come to realize that the wealth of data gathered by spacecraft is useless if it cannot be transmitted safely and efficiently to scientists on Earth. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
This is a legacy site for videos and animations related to the Deep Impact mission and encounter with Tempel 1. Learners can watch videos about the mission, encounter, science, and results.
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 29-minute Discovery Program overview video, "Unlocking Mysteries of Our Solar System." (View Less)
In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More) This activity relates to several NASA comet missions such as Deep Impact, Stardust, Stardust-NExT, and EPOXI and can be used to emulate a process that scientists and engineers follow on all missions. (View Less)
This is a lesson about using gravity to assist in spacecraft navigation. Learners will relate an elastic collision to the change in a satellite's or spacecraft's speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist"... (View More) maneuver. Both hands-on and online interactive methods are used to explore these topics. (View Less)
This module is about collaboration and communication strategies that are used during mission design. Learners will strengthen their understanding of and ability to use collaborative processes and communication practices to clarify, conceptualize,... (View More) and make decisions. They will compare the risks of varying courses of action that confront scientists and engineers. After the risks are identified, they will gather and convey evidence supporting and refuting the viability of these actions, and reach consensus. The module strategies rely primarily on student investigation into the background information that is necessary to support arguments; make quantitative risk analyses; engage in debate, role-playing, and persuasive writing/communication processes; and practice group decision-making procedures. (View Less)
Learners can read about the Deep Impact mission to encounter comet Tempel 1, including the mission, the experiment, results, the comet, the team, and how the results were transmitted back to Earth. Includes pre- and post-encounter fact sheets.