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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.
"Build It Yourself: Satellite!" is an online Flash game hosted on the James Webb Space Telescope website. The goal of the game is to explain the decision-making process of satellite design. The user can choose to build a "small," "medium," or... (View More) "large" astronomy satellite. The user then selects science goals, wavelength, instruments, and optics. The satellite is then launched on the appropriate rocket (shown via an animation). Finally, the user is shown what their satellite might look like, as well as what kind of data it might collect, via examples from similar real-life satellites. Satellites range from small X-ray missions without optics (like the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) to large missions with segmented mirrors (like the James Webb Space Telescope). (View Less)
This is a lesson about the role of computers in space exploration. Learners will investigate various ways to improve mission design to maximize the scientific return. In the first activity, the students examine how the use of flowcharts can help... (View More) make computer programs error-free and efficient, in this way making the 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 the scientists on the Earth. (View Less)
This is a lesson about how spacecraft use gravity assists to get where they are going. 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... (View More) behavior of balls colliding with other objects. In Activity 2, the students use an interactive online simulation tool to explore the various ways in which gravity assists can be used to aid space exploration. (View Less)
This self-paced, interactive tutorial provides learners with an opportunity to learn about remote sensors, and the role remote-sensing instruments play in our understanding of the Earth system. Activities within the tutorial allow learners to... (View More) demonstrate for themselves how atmospheric absorption and the signal-to-noise ratio determine the spectral resolution of a remotely-sensed image. A culminating simulation activity shows learners how engineers must consider design tradeoffs between quality and quantity of data produced. This resource is part of the tutorial series, Satellite Observations in Science Education, and is the second of three modules in the tutorial, Principles in Remote Sensing. (Note: requires Java plug-in) (View Less)
In this lesson, learners will discover how certain snakes (pit-vipers) can find prey using a natural infrared sensor and will extend their understandings by exploring infrared technology applications. The lesson features background information for... (View More) the teacher, pre-requisite skills and knowledge for the student, a mini-exploration of infrared image technology, multiple image sets, assessment information, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities, and additional resources. This is lesson 2 on the Infrared Zoo website. (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. Students 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)
In this problem set, learners will analyze a table of electrical consumption of appliances when not in use and consider the total consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh), associated cost and their own consumption when appliances are in "instant-on" or... (View More) "stand-by" mode. Answer key is provided. This is part of Earth Math: A Brief Mathematical Guide to Earth Science and Climate Change. (View Less)