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Using a plastic tray filled with sand to represent a planetary surface, learners simulate the effects of wind, water, and impacts. They will compare the surface effects they create with actual images of planetary surfaces- and determine the causes... (View More) of the features in the images. This activity was designed to be used in a library program. (View Less)
Students are tasked with virtually designing a spacecraft to withstand the harsh environment of the Van Allen Radiation belts- the location of many communication, GPS and weather satellites. The details of the challenge, along with videos on... (View More) radiation, a materials list (including descriptions, densities, costs, and testing), and subsystems information are included. (View Less)
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)
Learners create art inspired by authentic NASA planetary image data while learning to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces, uniquely inspiring learner engagement. This presentation and accompanying activity use the elements of art - shape,... (View More) line, color, texture, value - to make sense of features in NASA images, honing observation skills and inspiring questions. It aligns with the NGSS cross-cutting concept of Patterns. Videos, images, and an interactive poster that breaks down activity elements deepen user access. (View Less)
This activity focuses on the relationship between science of looking for life and the tools, on vehicles such as the Mars Rover, that make it possible. Learners will create their own models of a Mars rover. They determine what tools would be... (View More) necessary to help them better understand Mars (and something about life on Mars/its habitability). Then they work in teams to complete a design challenge where they incorporate these elements into their models, which must successfully complete a task. Teams may also work together to create a large-scale, lobby-sized version that may be put on display in the library to engage their community. The activity also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 6 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is an activity about albedo, which is a measurement of the reflectance of a planetary surface. Learners will classify areas on an image in terms of albedo values and then sketch their own portion of an image from space. These sketches are... (View More) assembled to view the larger image that the class or group has created. Note: See Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page) for a link to download the student pages of this activity. (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.
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)