Lunar Expedition
Mission: Mars
Suborbital Sojourn
Asteroid Encounter
Orbital Laboratory®
K-3 Space®

"I have been using the Space Explorers programs for over ten years, going back to the days of Lunar Prospector and Moonlink. The mission simulation concept is what initially got my attention, as this has added a whole new dimension of realism to my Earth/Space Science classes."

- Teacher Tom Sarko
Palm Beach Day School
Palm Beach, FL

Lunar Expedition allows students to take on the roles of scientists and engineers as they send the Lunar Prospector spacecraft to the Moon. Students work in teams to accomplish specific goals. The mission is an authentic experience that gives students a unique perspective on what goes into putting any craft into space, and allows students to become active participants in an actual NASA mission.

Preparation and follow-up activities are important components of the mission simulation experience. Lesson plans are prepared for teachers to choose from when preparing their students for the missions. The lessons include topics such as:

  • Magnetism
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Gravity
  • Rocketry
  • Impact Craters
  • Phases of the Moon
  • The lesson plans utilize a number of different teaching formats to ensure learning opportunities for all students. When the mission is complete, students can go into the data laboratory and analyze data collected during the NASA mission. This program takes the spacecraft data and lets students look at the values in color with a realistic 3-D landscape, providing a realistic ending to any successful mission.

    Moonlink® simulates the Lunar Prospector mission that was sent to research the Moon. Students work together as 12 positions to launch their spacecraft to the Moon. Students perform tasks that mimic the actions of scientists and engineers in mission control. This mission also utilizes a script for most of the actions that students are to perform, but there is an unscripted realistic anomaly within the simulation that students must problem solve correctly in order to complete a successful mission.

    The phases of the Moonlink® mission take the spacecraft through pre-launch, launch, cruise, and orbital insertion. During each of these phases, students gain an understanding of how their position contributes to the mission. At the end of the mission, students guide their spacecraft to impact the surface of the Moon. This was the last phase of the Lunar Prospector mission. It was done so that seismographs on the Moon and telescopes on Earth could be used to analyze the impact results.

    Space Explorers applets are an exceptional tool to not only illustrate complex concepts, but also allow students to make and test predictions. The inquiry-based applets complement the lesson plans and simulations while allowing students to learn at their own pace. These are ideal for visual and hands-on learners.

    The Interactive Applets were created to allow students to test out various scenarios to better understand the forces involved in asteroid impacts, trajectory correction techniques, launch windows, and aerobraking calculations. These allow for a fun, fast paced learning experience related to NASA missions. The Applets are designed to be completed online, and include corresponding lesson plans combining contextual and activity-based exercises to key science concepts with fun, interactive activities.

    Students begin exploring the Space Library® by selecting what interests them most. Space Library® has detailed information about the planets, the Sun, the Moon, comets, rockets & X-planes, deep space, asteroids, and live missions. For each planet in our solar system, students will find planetary data, images, information about past, current, and future missions, and much more.

    The Space Library is comprised of engaging articles that aid students to apply research and critical thinking skills. Teachers can direct students to the Space Library as they seek answers to questions and conduct further investigations.

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