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Become a crime scene investigator! Learners model Dawn Mission scientists, engineers, and technologists and how they use instrumentation to detect distant worlds. After a briefing to build context, students explore interactions between different... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

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 wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction... (View More)

This is an activity about the states of matter. Learners will participate in a demonstration to reintroduce them to three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. The demonstration also introduces them to a fourth state of matter, plasma, through... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Over $20

This is a set of materials about spectroscopy, including a downloadable PowerPoint presentation and two demonstrations or activities. Learners will read and/or hear about the science of spectroscopy, what a spectrum is, and how spectroscopy is... (View More)

This is an activity about the the functioning of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft. Learners will participate in an interactive demonstration to illustrate how the IBEX spacecraft uses its particle detectors to collect and sort... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is an engineering design challenge activity. Learners will use balloons to investigate how a multi-stage rocket, like that used to launch the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft, can propel a satellite to a specific orbit.... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

In this activity, students use the binary number system to transmit messages. Two flashlights are used to demonstrate how astronomy spacecraft to transmit images and other scientific data to Earth. This activity is part of Unit 4 in the Space Based... (View More)

This is a activity about how reaction wheels affect spacecraft orientation (attitude). Learners will observe Newton's Third Law (action-reaction) in the changes caused by a reaction wheel acting upon a spacecraft suspended from a support wire and in... (View More)

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