Online Learning Activities

NASA Web Hunt

Retrace the remarkable steps that NASA has taken to explore space, and evaluate the discoveries that participants have made on each mission.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

When you think of NASA you probably think about aeronautic research and scientific discovery, but amongst the future of space exploration that NASA allows you to envision, it is also important to take the time and appreciate history. 

 

1. NASA has a remarkable history with moments that are monumental in America’s past. 

What event occurred on July 20, 1969? http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/what_does_nasa_do.html

How did this event benefit America and the rest of the world? 

Do you think America’s rise as a world leader had to do with this day? If an event of this magnitude were to take place today, what do you think it would be?

 

2. Before NASA was NASA it was NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.  In its time as NACA many things were achieved.  Use this website: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/X-Press/stories/2005/032505_NACA_90th.html, in order to look at all of NACA’s achievements from its creation on March 3, 1915 until it’s transformation into NASA on Oct. 1, 1958. 

For each decade, the twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties, record one of NACA’s accomplishments. 

In your opinion, in which decade did NACA make the progress?

 

3. In 1997 NASA decided that there is a great importance in the exploration of life on other planets.  The Mars Pathfinder became the first spacecraft to explore Mars.  Through the discovery of conditions on Mars we can better understand how and why our home world is changing. Look at this Web site to find out what the Mars Pathfinder discovered http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars-pathfinder/. 

Do you believe that the information the Mars Pathfinder discovered suggests that life existed on Mars? 

What kind of information do you think NASA should concentrate on recovering from Mars?

 

4. NASA's aeronautics teams are focused on improved aircraft travel that is safer and cleaner.  Look at this Web site http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/spacecraft/instruments.html and explore some of the spacecraft and instruments that NASA has designed. 

If you could give one of NASA’s scientific instruments to a superhero which instrument would it be? 

Which superhero would you give this scientific technology to and how would it help to further save the world?

 

5. Up until 400 years ago, all we knew about our universe came from our observations with the naked eye. In 1610 Galileo invented the telescope and gave us the opportunity to learn more about our universe. This simply wasn’t enough, however, and in the 1920’s Edwin Hubble, for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope to discover galaxies beyond our own. Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space. It has an unobstructed view of the universe and its launching in 1990 marks the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope.

Our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same. Go to this Web site to look at Hubble’s top achievements: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/hubble_gallery/index_noaccess.html.

Which one is your favorite?

What do you think your favorite achievement helped NASA learn about Earth? 

 

6. Did you know that one of NASA’s current missions is surveying Earth’s oceans? Not only is NASA involved with the exploration and surveillance of outer space but they have a huge part in researching different geographical aspects of earth as well.  NASA uses satellites to observe the ocean; this has become a standard part of marine operations around the world.  Keeping track of local currents is critical for daily operations.  With the collected data NASA is able to help predict where and to what degree hurricanes will occur. This information is extremely valuable and can aid in the warning and possibly prevention of many deaths. 

Read about NASA’s new mission http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ostm/news/ostm-20080701.html and brainstorm three other causes their information about ocean surfaces could be beneficial towards. 

  • Subjects:
    Astronomy and Space, Planets, Moons, Solar Systems, Satellites and Probes, Space Travel
  • Skills:
    Online Sources, Science, Research Skills
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