As graduation from Middle School is just a month away, you are probably contemplating what it will be like in High School. Graduation form High School is another big milestone, and then after that graduation from College. Have you thought about where you might want to live when you will be on your own? Have you ever considered the possibility of moving out of planet earth? With technological advancements and a focused effort, in the not too distant future we will be colonizing the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon, and perhaps even Mars. Will you be among those to make one of these destinations your home?
In the next 4 weeks you will join NASA, form a Space Flight Center, and plan a manned mission to one of these three destination; Moon, Mars, or ISS. You will also learn a about the solar system, the universe in its entirety (and it is HUGE), and how the planets and stars were formed.
You will be working on Moon, Mars, and ISS for 10 blocks. In the first nine blocks there will be lessons, experiments, and DVDs/videos. In the 3rd block you will start working on your Specialization (more on this later) and together with you Space Flight Center, will be working on your final projects. Final projects will be presented in the 10th block and after that select projects will be on display in the San Diego Aerospace Museum.
Moon, Mars and ISS is a 10 block Program. It culminates with a student exhibit at the San Diego Aerospace Museum.
In the first block the teacher will introduce the “Moon, Mars, and ISS” Program. You will be asked to form a Space Flight Center (SFC) with 3 (or 4) of your friends. You will need to be working together after school and on the weekends. It might be prudent to select teammates that live nearby or share the same lunch period. Your team will proceed to select a destination to go to. There are three choices:
You will need to designate alternate destinations, as you may not get to go to your first choice. You will then proceed to select a specialty. Eight specialties will be offered. Choose the ones that are relevant to your destination and are of interest to you. Below is a brief overview of the specialties:
- Transportation - How to get from planet earth to your destination and back.
- Terraforming - Turning your destination in a friendlier place that can satisfy human needs.
- Space Health - Some destinations, such as the ISS have zero gravity and all have harmful radiation. There are extreme temperatures and lack of oxygen. How do we make sure we are safe while in space?
- Robots and Rovers - Robots are required in order to do tasks that humans cannot do and rovers are the vehicles that will take you around your destination.
- Exploring - This is what you will be doing after you get to your destination. Many experiments have already been done on the ISS. What might you do on Moon, or Mars?
- Radiation Damage - We are constantly being bombarded by ionizing radiation. Although radiation can neither be seen nor felt, it can be very dangerous. On earth, the atmosphere protects us. In space the radiation is very harmful to humans and to electronic equipment. One of our challenges is to find ways of protecting our equipment and ourselves.
- Astro-biology - This fascinating specialization deals with searching for life outside of planet earth.
- Commercial Opportunities - These are things that you will do to grow rich. You can start a touring company, mine for minerals, grow crystals, and much more.
In the 2nd block the teacher will let you know which destination you will be going to. This is a good time to give your Space Flight Center a name and an acronym. For example, our grant is form the GSFC, which stands for the Goddard Space Flight Center. You will then make a logo. For sample logos, check the NASA and Nu-Edu logos that are on all your handouts and on the websites
In the 3rd block you will start researching your specialty. You will be working independently on the computer, reviewing literature, answering questions of increasing complexity, and gaining the knowledge that you will need in order to plan your mission. You will get to work on your specialty in class 4 times. You are encouraged to read-up at home. Many carefully selected references have been provided.
Moon, Mars, and ISS culminates with a final project. You can make a knowledge based game such as Jeopardy (and play it with your classmates), write a science fiction story, an essay on the significance of space exploration, make a 3-D image of your destination, Tourism brochure or poster, skit, video, and much more. This is where you get creative. We want to be surprised by the wonderful and unexpected projects that you come up with. Select projects will be displayed at the San Diego Aerospace Museum in late June. Projects may be exhibited in other locations as well.
Welcome to NASA, Space Explorers of the Future!