Press Release

NASA Invites Children and Families to Learn about the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration

By SpaceRef Editor
August 9, 2013
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NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Md., will host this month’s Sunday Experiment on Aug. 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. It’s a free afternoon for elementary school-aged children and their families with a look at how NASA sends and receives its data.

Participants will learn about the electromagnetic spectrum, the communication cycle, and the engineering work NASA does to overcome the challenges to communicating in space.

This month’s Sunday Experiment will explore NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration.  LLCD, launching aboard the Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer on Sept. 6 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., will take the next step in creating a high-performance space-based laser communications system. NASA currently uses radio waves to transmit its data. To continue to enable increased observation capabilities aboard satellites, transmitting data over greater distances, with a corresponding increase in data downlink rate and data volume, NASA is demonstrating two-way high-rate laser communications via LLCD.

Planned hands-on activities to be featured this month include building a string-can telephone to help demonstrate the communication cycle, a laser-pointing activity to demonstrate the complications NASA must overcome to shoot lasers back from the moon (238,900 miles away), and learning how to tune-in to the correct frequency with the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Sunday Experiment, usually held the third Sunday of each month from Sept. through May, with some exceptions, spotlights Goddard’s world-renowned science and engineering research and technological developments. Families leave inspired by the activities, wowed by the scientists and engineers, and excited about Goddard’s revolutionary research and technology. In addition to celebrating all things science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the Sunday Experiment celebrates major science missions that are managed by Goddard and set to launch in the near future.

For more information on Sunday Experiment, visit Goddard’s Visitor Center webpage:
http://visitorcenterevents.gsfc.nasa.gov/

For more information about the LLCD mission and how NASA will use lasers for future communications please visit:
http://llcd.gsfc.nasa.gov

For more information and directions to the NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/visitor/home/index.html
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/visitor/directions/index.html

SpaceRef staff editor.