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Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More) 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 collection of mathematical problems about transits in the solar system. Learners can work problems created to be authentic glimpses of modern science and engineering issues, often involving actual research data.
This is an activity about mission planning. Learners will use the roles of a navigation team, spacecraft, comet, Earth, and Sun to simulate how mission planners design a spacecraft/comet rendezvous. This activity requires at least four active... (View More) participants and a large open space. Includes mathematics extensions. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the distribution of dust in the solar system. Learners will use data from the Student Dust Counter (SDC) Data Viewer to establish any trends in the distribution of dust. Students record the number of dust particles, or hits,... (View More) recorded by the instrument and the average mass of the particles in a given region. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.
This is a lesson about discovering distant planets using an Earth-based observing technique called stellar occultation. Learners will explore how a stellar occultation occurs, how planetary atmospheres can be discovered, and how planetary diameters... (View More) can be determined using actual light curves from stellar occultation events. Includes adaptations for younger students and those with visual impairments. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included... (View More) are changes in energy and fuel consumption as a result of variable changes (dependent/independent variable relationships). This is activity 5 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the formation of glaciers, ice layering and stratigraphy, and the cryosphere and cryobotics. Learners will collect evidence of layering, explore the science story that layering tells, study snow and ice for insights into... (View More) climate change, and learn about the tools used to explore ice layers on Earth and in the solar system. Connections between rings of a tree and rings in an ice core will be made. Activities include small group miming, speaking, drawing, and/or writing. This is lesson 7 of 12 in the unit, Exploring Ice in the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More) properties of ions in the plasma phase. The lesson may or may not be completed on-line. This is activity 2 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More) will learn to adopt an informed, experimental method for use in a later lesson. A tightly-scripted slide-by-slide presentation is provided. Preconceptions are discussed. This is activity 4 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)