The Mission

Mission Priorities

• Protect the lives and health of the astronauts
• Protect the space station’s systems
• Protect essential space station research projects
• Protect resources

Mission Directives
• Recruit Communications, Radiation, Life Support and Solar Weather Watch teams.
• Prepare teams for the predicted solar storm event.

In this simulation, your scheduled mission takes place on February 14, 2001. On this date, the space station glides through the silence of space, two hundred and fifty miles above the earth. The station's solar panels bathe in the sun's rays, generating the electrical energy vital to the station's systems. Everything appears tranquil and safe. A major solar flare, however, is about to erupt.

Managing the Space Station’s life-sustaining systems requires teamwork, planning, and clear-headed problem-solving ability -- especially in emergency situations.

Ninety three million miles away, this storm brews on the surface of the sun. Suddenly a major solar storm spews ionized atomic particles, X-rays, and gamma rays into space. The GOES-8 satellite detects and transmits early-warning data to Mission Control. Some scientists believe that this coronal mass ejection is the largest ever recorded.

Mission Control must warn the Astronauts on board the Space Station and help guide them through this dangerous event. Major solar storms invade the Earth’s atmosphere, create Northern Lights, disable satellites, and knock out earth-bound electrical power grids. Both the Astronauts and the Space Station’s delicate electrical systems will be exposed to life-threatening levels of radiation.

As this storm’s high-energy "fallout" pulses through the Space Station’s walls, electrical and computer systems begin to malfunction…oxygen generation is interrupted…the power supply begins to drop…and harmful radiation levels begin to rise…


Copyright © 2003. Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University. All rights reserved.