Humans first landed on the moon in 1969. As we prepare to return for the first time in almost fifty years, we have some questions about the technology that will get us there for returning special guest Michael Staab. Then we are lucky enough to be visited by the star Proxima Centauri (Woke, New Girl's Lamorne Morris) and hear a new audio essay from our own Joalda Morancy - all on this episode of REACH.
Hosts: Brian Holden and Meredith Stepien
Written by: Sandy Marshall with Nate DuFort, Joalda Morancy, Meredith Stepien and Brian Holden.
Co-Created, Produced by: Nate DuFort and Sandy Marshall
Edited by: Nate DuFort
Music composed by: Jesse Case
Casting Consultant: Beth Kligerman
Logo by: Steven Lyons
Special thanks to Michael Staab, Fault Management and System Autonomy Principal Engineer for Lunar Missions at Northrop Grumman. Follow Michael online at @AstroStaab.
Proxima Centauri was voiced by the incredible Lamorne Morris, who you know from the show New Girl. Hulu's Woke, and the QCODE action-comedy series Unwanted. Follow Lamorne on Twitter at @LamorneMorris.
Special thanks to Mimi Meredith, Michele McCartney, JoAnna Strecker, and Jim Remar at the Cosmosphere International Science Center and Space Museum for sharing the Build a Better Lander Activity from the Cosmosphere Camps. To learn more about Cosmosphere Camps, visit https://cosmo.org and @kscosmosphere.
To learn more about NASA’s Artemis program, visit www.nasa.gov/artemisprogram, or follow on social media via @NASAArtemis.
Special thanks to NASA Space Place and Kay Ferrari at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Build a Better Lander Activity
via Cosmosphere Camps
Below is an engineering design activity called Build a Better Lander.
During this activity, kids are invited to build a model lunar lander that is safe for 6 astronauts (represented by small marshmallows). During the Cosmosphere’s Lunar Base camp, kids will experience activities like these as they learn about the Moon. The main focus of the camp is to learn the science, history, and challenges of getting to the Moon from the launch and testing in Project Mercury/Gemini, to landing humans on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth in Project Apollo.
In 1969, we landed the first two people on the Moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Now, NASA wants to go back to the Moon and needs a new design for the lunar lander. First, NASA will build a prototype of the lunar lander to be sure it is safe for the astronauts. Here are the constraints they must consider in building the model:
- There is no atmosphere on the Moon, so the design cannot use any parachutes.
- You will be using six small marshmallows to represent your astronauts and a styrofoam cup to represent the cockpit. To make sure it is safe, we need to see how the marshmallows react to the landing. You cannot cover the top of the cup or restrain the astronauts (marshmallows) in any way.
- A successful landing means that the lunar lander lands upright with all six astronauts still inside the cockpit. If the lander tips over, it is not safe for the astronauts. If some of the astronauts bounce out of the cup, the landing was too hard and unsafe.
- You will follow the Engineering Design Process, listed below, to create these prototype lunar landers.
Engineering Design Process
- Ask: How do we land six astronauts (marshmallows) safely on the moon?
- Imagine: Gather your materials. You will need small marshmallows and a styrofoam cup. Brainstorm about other materials you could use. Some suggested items include: masking tape, cardboard, straws, and notecards.
- Plan: Sketch a picture of your lunar lander. Label all the major components and what you will use to build them.
- Create: Build the lunar lander.
- Experiment: Stand up and drop the lunar lander with the astronauts inside the styrofoam cup. Note what happens when it lands. Ask an adult to drop the lunar lander from a taller height (from a step stool or small ladder).
- Improve: Brainstorm ways to improve the lunar lander. What is causing it to tip over? Why are the astronauts bouncing out of the cup?
- Repeat: Keep experimenting and improving until you are satisfied with your lunar lander.
Do you have a space related question that we didn’t get to? Well, you can submit that question for our bi-weekly “Reaching Out” episodes. Just get your parents permission and give us a call at 312-248-3402 (or an email at ReachthePodast@gmail.com) and leave us a message with your first name, where you're from and your question for a chance to be featured in an upcoming episode.
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REACH: A Space Podcast for Kids is a production of Soundsington Media committed to making quality programing for young audiences and the young at heart. To find out more go to http://www.soundsingtonmedia.com