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This project engages students in the science and engineering processes used by NASA Astrobiologists as they explore our Solar System and try to answer the compelling question, "Are we Alone?" Students will identify science mission goals and select... (View More) an astrobiologically significant target of interest: Mars, Europa, Enceladus or Titan. Students will then design their mission to this target in search of their chosen biosignature(s). Students will encounter the same considerations and challenges facing NASA scientists and engineers as they search for life in our Solar System. Students will need to balance the return of their science data with engineering limitations such as power, mass and budget. Risk factors play a role and will add to the excitement in this interactive science and engineering activity. Astrobiobound! will help students see how science and systems engineering are integrated to achieve a focused scientific goal. Includes an alignment document for NGSS and Common Core State Standards. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the technology as it relates to heat transfer (conduction and convection)on the International Space Station. Learners will investigate how to build a space suit that keeps astronauts cool. This is technology activity 1 of 2... (View More) found in the ISS L.A.B.S. Educator Resource Guide. (View Less)
This is an annotated, topical list of science fiction novels and stories based on more or less accurate astronomy and physics ideas. Learners can read fictional works that involve asteroids, astronomers, black holes, comets, space travel where... (View More) Einstein's ideas are used correctly, exploding stars, etc. (View Less)
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.
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 lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students... (View More) determine the pros and cons for different ways we can explore another world, either by observing from the Earth or by sending a spacecraft to fly by, orbit, or land on the world. In Activity 2, the students plan a complete mission to explore another world in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students come to understand that what scientists want to learn about an object determines how they plan the mission, but real-life constraints such as cost and time determine what actually can be accomplished. (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 is a website about asteroids and comets. Learners can play a physics-based asteroid game, learn about how backyard astronomers are contributing to asteroid research, or simulate an asteroid impact using a Google Earth Impact simulation.... (View More) Includes background information about comets and asteroids and links to multimedia resources. (View Less)