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Overview of Teams
Transmissions Specialist Navigation Specialist Cargo Specialist Communications Team Student’s Place

Albedo—the amount of sunlight that reflects back into space

Apollo Moon missions—six NASA missions (1969-1972) that studied the Moon

Asteroid—a rocky object in space made from the same materials from which the planets formed.

Astronomer—a scientist who studies space

Astronomical unit—AU—the distance from the Earth to the Sun; 150 million kilometers

Axis—1) a line that is used to find or draw points; the x and y lines of a graph
2) an imaginary line through the center of a planet around which it spins

C—Celsius—a scale for temperature measurement

Callisto—one of the Galilean (Jupiter) moons; its surface looks to be the oldest of the Galilean moons.

Cargo—the goods or freight carried in a ship, airplane, or vehicle

Cargo Specialists—These students calculate the cargo needs for the rescue trip to and from their planet. They must calculate the cargo needs for the astronauts going on the rescue and for the additional astronauts they bring back from the ship.
Cargo needs include food, water, oxygen, and the packing crates necessary to pack the cargo.

Celestial—having to do with space; heavenly

Centi—prefix meaning 1/100; 0.01

Code—a system of signals or symbols used for communication

Compass rose—a symbol on a map with points for direction

Coordinate—a number that identifies a point on a graph or map

Coordinate graph—a graph that displays coordinates for identification

Core—the innermost layer of a planet

Craters—a circular depression formed by rocky objects from space striking the surface

Crust—the outermost layer of a planet

Decode—to convert a code to a recognized message

Density—the amount of mass an object has for its volume

Eccentric—not in the center of a circle.

Elliptical—an elongated closed circle

Evening star—Venus and Mercury in the evening as they appear to follow the Sun across the sky to the west

Europa—one of the Galilean (Jupiter) moons, about the same size and density as our Moon.

F—Fahrenheit—a scale used to measure temperature.

Ganymede—one of the Galilean moons (Jupiter), the largest known moon in the solar system.

Gas Planet—a planet composed mostly of the gases hydrogen and helium; the large gaseous planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) as compared to the smaller, rocky planets.

Great Dark Spot 1989—a giant storm the size of Earth on Neptune; resembles the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It vanished and another giant storm, the Great Dark Spot 1994, appeared in the northern hemisphere.

Great Dark Spot 1994—a giant storm on Neptune which appeared and was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994.

Great Red Spot—on Jupiter, a giant atmospheric, swirling storm.

Great White Oval—a giant storm on Saturn that forms at 29.5-year intervals; is thousands of kilometers wide. It appeared in Sept. 1990 and faded from view by November.

Greenhouse gases—gases in the atmosphere that can trap heat

Horizontal—parallel to or in the plane of the horizon

Hubble Space Telescope—a telescope in space

Impact ejecta theory—a theory of the formation of the Moon that suggests the Earth was hit by a Mars-sized body; the resulting debris accumulated to form the Moon

Inner planets—the small rocky planets inside the asteroid belt; Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars

Io—One of Jupiter’s moons; the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

K—Kelvin—the International unit and scale for measuring temperature

Kilo—prefix meaning 1000

Libration—when the visible disk of the Moon appears to shift due to slight variations in the Moon’s motions; we actually see about 59% of the Moon’s surface over time.

Legend—a table or list of symbols on a map or chart that explains the symbols used

Magnetic field—an area that has magnetic forces

Mantle—the middle layer of a planet (between the core and the crust)

Maria—low-lying areas on the Moon

Mass—the amount of matter in an object

Meteor—a streak of light made of hot gases produced by a burning meteoroid in an atmosphere

Meteorite—a meteor that reaches a surface of a planet or moon

Meter—a metric unit for measuring distance or length.

Mission—a specific job or task to perform; a flight operation of an aircraft or spacecraft, as in a space mission

Mnemonic device—a tool to assist in remembering a list of names, fact, or figures by using letters, rhymes, words, or names.


Morning star—Venus and Mercury in the morning as they arrear to lead the Sun to the west

Newtonian laws of gravity—Laws of gravity as proved by Isaac Newton.

Nuclear Fusion—a nuclear reaction in which atomic nuclei are fused together to form a different element with the release of energy; these reactions take place in the core of a star.

Navigation—the job of getting ships, aircraft, or spacecraft from place to place; the method of determining positions, courses, or distances traveled

Navigation Specialists—Students plot the location of each planet on an x,y coordinate graph. They also plot the location of “unknowns” in the outer system and plot the course of the ship to determine where the ship could be now. The Navigation Specialists work with the Transmission Specialists to identify the present location of the lost ship.

Nuclear Fusion—a nuclear reaction in which atomic nuclei are fused together to form a different element with the release of energy; these reactions take place in the core of a star.

Olympus Mons—largest volcano in the solar system; on Mars

Orbit—the path an object takes around another object

Origin—the point where the axes cross

Ordered pair—a list of two number, where the order of the numbers is important. For a coordinate graph, the x coordinate is listed first, the y is listed second.

Outer planets—the large gaseous planets (and small, rocky Pluto) that are outside the asteroid belt; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

Outpost—a frontier settlement

Payload—the load carried by an aircraft or spacecraft

Permafrost—permanently frozen soil

Phobos and Deimos—2 moons of Mars; small, rocky, and irregular Plot—to mark a location on a graph or map

Probes—a spacecraft carrying instruments intended for use in exploration of outer space or celestial bodies (other than Earth).

Quadrants—the areas that are formed when two lines intersect to form four quarters.

Radius—a distance from the center of a circle or sphere to its circumference or surface.

Radiation—dangerous energy released as nuclear changes occur

Regolith—powdery soil on the Moon produced by shattering rock with meteorite impacts

Resource—anything that can be used

Rescue—to save from danger

Retrograde—rotation of a planet or moon from the east to the west

Revolution—a complete cycle of movement of one object around another.

Rotation—the movement of a planet or moon spinning around its axis

Satellite—any object that orbits or revolves around another object

Scale—using smaller measurements to represent larger measurements

Scenario—a story-line of a possible course of events or actions, especially when imagined

Seismometer—an instrument that records earthquakes and plate movements

Simulation—a practice activity which duplicates the actual situation as closely as possible

Solar wind—streams of ions that flow away from the Sun

Specialist—a person who is particularly knowledgeable about a certain job

Synchronous rotation—a rotational time (spinning on the axis) that is the same as the time to travel around the planet

Titan—a Saturn moon with a dark-orange color; is larger than the planet Mercury.

Transmission Specialists—These specialists receive information from near their planet about where the lost ship has been each day. The information is encoded (written in code) and students must decode the message to get the information, record it on the Problem-solving Chart, and pass it along to Mission Control.
Greek symbols=Words
Circular symbols=Individual letters
Math equations=Words

Triton—one of Neptune’s moons that orbits Neptune in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation.

Ultraviolet rays—a type of radiation with wavelengths shorter than those of visible light, but longer than those of x-rays.

Valles Marineris—on Mars; a network of rocky valleys extending 5000 Km around the equator. This system of canyons stretches a distance equivalent to the distance from New York to Los Angeles.

Vertical—at right angles to the horizon or ground level

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The Challenger Learning Center’s innovative program for digital learning, the e-Mission™, provides teachers with curriculum aligned with state and national standards and a mission conducted via distance learning. e-Missions are designed around best practice models and principles derived from the latest educational research.

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