#106 June 1997
Section 220.127.116.11.106.of the Artemis Data Book
By: Scott J. Piotrowski, Space Explorers, Inc.
1825 Nimitz Dr., DePere, WI, 54115. (414) 339-4600
September 24, '97, NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft will be launched on a trajectory to the Moon. [The actual date, owing to a delay, was January 5, 1998] Objectives of the 1 year mission are to gather data about the Moon's surface, magnetic fields, and gravity fields, and to improve our understanding of its origin, evolution, current state, and resources.
An exciting educational program supporting the Lunar Prospector mission
is called MOONLINK™, the very first to bring live, interactive lunar
exploration to the classroom. Via the Internet and World Wide Web, students all over the world can experience the excitement of making scientific discoveries about the Moon from their own schools at the same time as mission scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center.
NASA and the planetary science community are aware of the importance of educating the public on the knowledge and benefits to be gained from the exploration of space. As Government funding for space programs continues to decrease, it is a goal of NASA to increase private investment and involvement in space exploration. Space Explorers, Inc., a privately-financed venture, was created to demonstrate an innovative partnership among the federal government, industry and academia. MOONLINK™ is their first space education product.
This is a three phase program. Phase I will include preparatory work: learning about the Moon and the Lunar Prospector mission using lessons and activities supplied by Space Explorers. Curriculum guides for teachers will also be included, and all materials can be downloaded from the Internet. In this phase, each team will be asked to identify one 150 km by 150 km selenographic location on the lunar surface to study in detail. Hopefully, this will instill a sense of "ownership" in the data collected and inspire the students by their own achievements.
In the second, most exciting phase, teams will interact with a MOONLINK™ Mission Controller to experience a live NASA space mission with real time data acquisition. This phase will last 100 minutes (Å one Lunar Prospector orbit) and include Internet connection, sign on, an introduction from the Mission Controller via video/audio internet software, discussion with the Controller about mission control activities, launch and mission simulations, science and spacecraft data from lunar orbit, and a debriefing.
In Phase III, teams will continually monitor their chosen locations throughout the mission duration and school year, as the data set for these location builds up and a clearer understanding of the data becomes available. This phase will conclude with the teams reporting on their locations to the Lunar Prospector scientists and providing data in formats relevant to the six mission experiments.
Educating the general public is just as necessary as their understanding and appreciation of the space program is essential for their support. Exhibits will be available for museums, libraries, and other public gathering places displaying real time mission status and data, via Internet, as it is accumulated. These exhibits will provide background information on the mission and exploration of the Moon.
Grade levels other than high school and other interested individuals
or groups can participate in the mission. Collaborative efforts or mentor/student
partnerships between universities and high schools can also be accommodated.
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto