Form a small team comprised of children and adults, design a robot, solve the challenge, and be part of the Google Lunar X PRIZE race to the Moon with LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
Target Age Group
Students will understand the environment on the Moon by seeing actual photos taken there and “traveling” on the surface with the Google Moon program.
You will need
Computer with Internet service
What to do
1. Ready to go to the Moon? 10, 9, 8, 7…. Okay, we’re really going to a website. At Google Moon you will find panaromic views of the Moon surface and close ups of the lunar equipment still providing data to scientists today.
2. Explore the website. Seeing the Moon for yourself, what do you notice about the environment there? How does it compare to the Earth?
3. Visit the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website here (for more information, see activity #14) and research the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. See and hear video and audio clips of the actual exploration. The Laser Retroreflector placed on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 11 is still there! You can find it using Google Moon and find out what it does from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website.
4. Now, go to the Apollo 12 landing site on Google Moon. Find the Surveyor III robot spacecraft that Alan Bean and Pete Conrad visited. They brought a part of the Surveyor back to Earth to study how materials withstand multi-year exposure on the Moon. Using the Apollo 12 Press Kit (also at the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website) can you find out what year Surveyor III landed on the Moon? What else can you find out about Bean and Conrad’s exploration?
5. To find out more, explore the Apollo Image Gallery or the Great Images in NASA. Print your favorite images and write captions explaining their importance.
What's Going On?
Google Moon uses a Mercator Projection to make a rectangular map of the Moon. The mapmaker’s challenge is making flat two-dimensional maps from spheres. Mercator projections are most accurate at the equator and most distorted at the poles. Compare a mercator projection world map with a world globe and look at how Greenland appears on both. You can also download a historical NASA Lunar chart The Laser Retroflector (p. 51, Apollo 11 Press Kit) is a special mirror system still used by scientists today to reflect laser light sent from Earth. By precise measurement of the transit time of the laser signal, an ultra accurate Earth-Moon distance measurement can be taken. Using this retroreflector, scientists have determined that the Moon is actually moving away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) per year. (Surveyor III landed in 1967.)
See Apollo Image Gallery here
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