Mars Significance

Mars Significance

February 18th the world was watching the rover, Perseverance land on Mars. There were nerves, excitement, and hope. Perseverance is the fifth rover to reach the surface of Mars though, so why is it so important? Why is everyone so excited? What is the significance of THIS rover?

Our team at Challenger Learning Center of Alaska sees this as an opportunity to make our world better. Perseverance will change the way we look at science, life, past life, and the Earth. The magnitude of new technology and the number of features included in this one rover is unbelievable.

In one mission we will be able to test a brand new technique in flying with the Mars helicopter, receive footage of the landing that we have never been able to witness before, test astronaut suit materials in the Mars atmosphere, test, take and store samples to later retrieve that will analyze signs of past life and resources similar to Earth’s, record sounds of natural events happening on the surface, and test a technology that could create oxygen from Mars’ CO2 atmosphere, to say the least!

All of this, to us, means if we can identify the resources for humans to survive on Mars, then we can discover how Mars reached the condition it is in now. We can learn how to revive Mars, how to grow a plant on Mars, and how to create oxygen on Mars. If we can do all this on a planet like Mars, can you imagine what we could do with that technology to save our home, Earth?

How is this mission significant to you? How did you feel watching Perseverance land on Mars? Join the conversation and leave a comment below to let us know!

#goperseverance

Perseverance Count Down!

Perseverance Count Down!

We are nine days away from the landing of Perseverance on Mars, the rover that was launched in 2020, seven months ago.

SO, what do you need to know for the live viewing?

This rover is not the first on mars but is the first of its kind. It will continue to conduct robotic field geology searching for signs of past life, as did its predecessors, but will also focus on tests that may determine the possibility for future human life. This new technology, called Moxie, tests the cabalilties of extracting oxygen from the CO2 atmosphere. Perseverance also carries a pair of microphones, which will provide historic audio of Martian sounds, such as arrival, landing, wind, and other ambient noise.

These studies help test ways to use Mar’s natural resources to support human explorers and improve designs for life support, transportation, and other systems for living and working on Mars.

Another unique feature on Perseverance is the terrain relative navigation. This new landing technique allows the rover to determine where it is landing and avoid hazardous terrain. To assist in landing it also has an extra feature called range trigger. It allows the parachute to open at the exact range necessary to accurately land the desired landing spot.

Additional new functions:

-Sample collection and caching system, allows 20 samples to be collected for future retrieval and testing on Earth.

-The Mars Helicopter, if successful will be the first flying device on Mars. (This guy is VERY cool!)

-Rimfax, ground penitrating radar

-23 cameras

-Bringing Spacesuit materials for testing

Perseverance is loaded with advanced tools that are well worth extra research. This is one impressive, exciting rover! https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

To prepare here is a list of fun activities you and your family can do:

  • Get Your Landing Resources
    Posters, stickers, fact sheets, mission patches and more.
  • Ways To Participate
    Try the Photo Booth, Send Your Name on the next mission to Mars, and check out other interactive experiences.
  • Watch Online
    Our quick guide to the TV programs coming up you can watch online.
  • Mission to Mars Student Challenge
    Get Mars-related webcasts for learners of all ages, along with lessons and activities for students.
  • Register for a Virtual Landing Event 
    Get notifications about landing opportunities, programming, and other mission information, plus a landing stamp for your virtual passport.
  • Virtual NASA Social 
    Connect online with other space enthusiasts, ask questions and get answers from NASA experts. Get a special badge to share online or print at home.

On Landing Day, Feb. 18, 2021:

After Landing:

  • Explore Mars with Perseverance
    As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.

Pumpkin Volcano

PUMPKIN VOLCANO

Are you getting ready to carve pumpkins with your kids like you do year after year? Bring a new twist to pumpkin carving this time by adding STEM! This is such an easy and instantly rewarding activity. Your kids will be delighted by the exploding foam escaping out of their pumpkin’s face, as well as the fun to touch texture of baking soda, vinegar and soap.

To get started:

SUPPLIES

  • Pumpkin
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Cookie sheet or large flat container (optional to contain the pumpkin and fizz from the chemical reaction)

DIRECTIONS

1. Ahead of time, cut the top off the pumpkin and clean the inside of the pumpkin out like you would do when preparing to carve a pumpkin.

2. Carve any type of pumpkin face out of one side of the pumpkin.

3. Gather all your supplies and place them nearby.

4. Drop a heaping amount of baking soda into the pumpkin. We didn’t really measure the ingredients, but added about a cup of baking soda to our medium sized pumpkin.

5. Add dish soap to the baking soda. Again we did not measure. Have the kids squeeze a good amount into the pumpkin.

6. When ready,  Pour vinegar into the pumpkin until the mixture begins to react, and place the pumpkin top back on.

You can wash out the pumpkin and redo it as many times as you want. For an extra spooky look, add some food coloring!

HAVE FUN!

New Programs!

Challenger Has New Programs

For YOU

CLCA is offering Alaskan Teachers, the ever-growing Homeschool population and individual parents looking to enroll their child into additional hands-on, engaging science classes, the opportunity to schedule Virtual STEM programs! 

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For Individual Students at Home

Let us cover your home school science credits, or sign up your child just for extra fun activities! We are offering a new weekly theme every month! Classes are delivered via Zoom for 1 1/2 hours a day and materials are provided for hands on learning!

Learn More & Register »

Custom Virtual Teacher Programs

Bring Challenger to your classroom for week long science curriculum. We can build custom lessons to what you need. Materials are sent to you for hands on learning and it’s as easy as inviting us to your virtual classroom! Learn more »

 

In-Center Options

Homeschool STEM Ahead Days are also an option! Sign your K-8th grader up for one day or all, offered on Tuesdays. You can see the schedule of topics for each day, pricing and registration here -> STEAM Ahead

If you child still goes to school but you’d like them to come in for this program you may still sign them up!

Kindernauts is a once a week program for your K-2nd grader, Thursdays for 1 1/2 hours. They will be immersed in a variety of goopy, wonderous and wacky STEM activities! Pricing, more details and registration can be found here-> Kindernauts

 

Teachers looking for more in class options?

We have ELearning programs, like Classroom Adventures virtually taking your class on a one hour team adventure!  Increase your students’ engagement in STEM subjects with an interactive team online adventure! Classroom Adventures takes the entire class on journeys to reach collective goals as they research, work together to answer questions, and collaborate to find solutions to urgent challenges. Choose from Aquatic Investigators, Dirt Decoders, or Nature Rangers! Call or email us to sign your class up. Licences are given to you to access these programs from your computers in your classroom! Contact Suzanne.phillips@akchallenger.org

You Are A Part Of CLCA and We Thank You!

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, CLCA, is excited to share with you that we were the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in Education, August 12th! As a nonprofit, our educational programs live on because of the support we receive from Alaskan communities. Assisting teachers, groups, and businesses fulfil their science curriculum, safety training or being here for team building retreats, is important to our mission. Community input, sponsorships and partners around Alaska is what makes our mission possible to achieve, therefore this award goes to all of you as well!

During the Challenger Center Annual Conference, Dr. Pelton recognized how important the student engagement and cultural exchange opportunity is that the Alaska meets Bermuda camp CLCA administered this summer, provides. Dr. Pelton also mentioned how exciting it was for him to see the virtual use of NASA’s equipment from the Artemis program, the Orion capsule, and the Natural Buoyancy Lab, being demonstrated to the students throughout the camp.  Dr. Pelton himself has played an enormous role in the space and STEM industries.Programs CLCA has been serving Alaskans for 20 years, providing STEM workshops and camps, simulated space missions, and water and land survival courses.

We are rolling out new programs and content throughout the year, So keep an eye on our website and social medias!

International Observe the Moon Day

International Observe the Moon Day

The Moon, the big bright circle in the sky that everyone is introduced to as the first introduction to our solar system and space, when we are little. Many of us, around the world, have most likely been read to about it at least once growing up. So, why not celebrate it when we are adults? International Observe the Moon Day, is recognized annually, this year falling on September 26th.

If you don’t have a local event happening that you can attend, there are several virtual events available from September 19th, through October 3rd. By visiting Here you can search and find one for you and your family to virtually attend. You can also register to put your home on the map of observers and share photos of your activities!

If you want to talk to your kids about the Moon but don’t know quite what to say, do not worry! NASA also has a handy Viewing Guide that beautifully pays tribute to all of the Moon’s best features.

If you celebrate the day, please share your activities and pictures with us! Tag @CLCAlaska on Facebook or @akclca on Instagram!

National Moon Day, 51st Anniversary

Today, July, 20th, 2020, marks an important day in history. Each year the world together, celebrates and remembers mans first accomplishment of landing on the moon. 1969, Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon was a day to remember, opening up the endless possibilities for lunar exploration. Buzz Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong, stepping on the surface. The duo collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins, the pilot, waited two and a half hours for them to return to the command module.

Celebrate with your kids and let them know the importance of this day. You can start by sharing this restored Apollo 11 video from NASA and feel like you were there!

There are several moon books you can also look for to help your kids understand and marvel at the moon’s importance.

Hello, Moon!, Francesca Simon

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing, Dean Robbins

Papa, please get the moon for me, Eric Carle

Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

Moonshot: The Fight of Apollo 11, Brian Floca

The Moon’s First Friends: How the Moon Met the Astronauts from Apollo 11, Susanna Leaonard Hill

If You Decide To Go To The Moon, Faith McNulty

Reaching for the Moon, Buzz Aldrin

Summer Camps

Summer Camps

Many of you have let us know that you are anxiously awaiting the news of our summer camp plans.  While so many things in our world have changed, one thing remains the same here at Challenger…we offer AWESOME summer camps!!!  

We are so excited to share our newest camp opportunity with you!  We are offering a Bermuda Virtual STEM camp.  Students from Alaska will join virtually with students in Bermuda as they learn together, share ideas, and make new friends from another culture.  One thing different about this camp is the students must apply to be accepted.  Please note that the application deadline is June 28, 2020.  The dates for the camps are July 13-17 and August 3-7, for students entering 6th – 8th grades.  

We will also be offering our on site summer STEM camps,  but as day camps only.  These camps are for students entering 4th – 6th grades and 7th – 8th grades on July 6 -10. 

More information about this camp an be found here CAMPS

You will find more information about all of our camps  in the attached links.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  

We can’t wait to see your students this summer!

Community Night

Community Night

You are invited to Community Night at the Challenger Center on June 23rd from 6 – 9 pm.  Bring your family and friends to this free community event!   All ages will have the opportunity to explore and learn with 10 interactive stations offering hands on activities centered on Earth Science Principles, Exploring the Universe, and the Solar System.   

You will also get to meet the new staff here at the center and learn more about other STEM learning opportunities, including our Summer Academies, that are offered here at the Challenger Center.

Please pass the word!  We can’t wait to see you!

#GivingTuesday!

Help Us Do It! #GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world. GivingTuesday will kick off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on December 3rd, and throughout the year.

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska has joined GivingTuesday to spread the word and love of this hopeful day. As a non-profit we understand the struggles many organizations face trying to keep the doors open, when all we want to do is teach our programs, to help shape the lives of our future generations. Many people are aware of our Simulated Space Missions and STEM workshops, but don’t realize everything else we do…

Corporate Retreats and Team building

Coldwater Survival Egress Trainings (CSET)

Helicopter Underwater Egress Training (HUET) Certification

Land Survival Training

Recreational Survival Training (CWSR), (WWSR), FIXED-WING DITCHING, KIDS DON’T FLOAT

Summer Camps

Facility Rentals- conferences, parties, meetings, banquets, receptions…

Dorm Rentals

Commercial Kitchen Rental

Homeschool Science Programs

Caring for the Kenai- Internationally recognized Environmental Contest

Despite all that we offer we are still looking to expand and give all that we can to our community. We are working on developing a Drone certification program and a Workforce Readiness Program. Our goal this December 3rd, is to raise $1,000 in 24 hours! These funds will help us with building maintenance, educational planning and supplies to facilitate our programs.

If you haven’t done so already, please tell your friends and family about our campaign. Spreading the word gets our voices heard and the donations rolling in! You can now give on our Facebook page by hitting the Donate button. Follow our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts and share what you do for #GivingTuesday! We appreciate any little bit.

https://www.facebook.com/CLCAlaska/

http://www.instagram.com/akclca

http://www.twitter.com/CLC_of_Alaska

It’s true that it takes a village to ignite real change, so we’re pumped to have our supporters rally with us to create a lasting impact through giving.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SUPPORTERS AND SPONSORS! <3