Status Report

Join NASA’s Exploration Through Navigation Challenge!

By SpaceRef Editor
October 16, 2008
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How would you like to take your students on a scientific journey to the South Pacific and the Moon?
The NASA Quest Challenge titled Exploration Through Navigation: Voyages Across Sea and Space is now open for registration! The purpose of this Challenge is to connect students in grades 5-8 to NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission while teaching them about different methods of Earth-based and space-based navigation. The major concept or “big idea” behind this Challenge is exploration, with the content centering on navigation skills. The driving question that students will learn to answer is “How will you stay on course?”

During this Challenge, students will first be tasked to chart a course from the Big Island of Hawai’i to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) using ocean navigation skills that were used in early Polynesian exploration. Inside the classroom, students will learn how to identify stars and constellations in the night sky as well as calculate the distance at which a crew can first sight an island from sea.

Weekly challenge questions will be posed for 5 – 8th grade students to compete for prizes to deliver the best answer to us first. Outside of the classroom, students will track the star Enif and as results are posted from around the world students, will determine if there is a relationship between the latitude of the observation site and the star’s altitude at its upper culmination.

Then, in Part II of the Challenge, students will be tasked to chart a course from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida to one of the lunar poles using navigation skills appropriate for outer space. For both tasks, students will submit their navigation strategy (as a class) to NASA for experts to review. At the end of the Challenge, students will be asked to compare and contrast navigation methods used on Earth and in space.

To learn more and to register for this challenge visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.