Women’s History Month & Challenger

Women’s History Month & Challenger

Since 1980, communities and organizations around the United States have celebrated Women’s History Month every March. The celebration recognizes women’s achievements and contributions to American history. At Challenger Center, the legacies of the two female Challenger crew members, Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe, motivate us every day to inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders through exciting STEM programs. Both Resnik and McAuliffe played integral parts in America’s space exploration and educational history and continue to hold a special place in Americans hearts. Learn more about them here.

Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space and had planned several lessons to do while aboard the Challenger STS. In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

CLCA was created to meet the educational needs of students throughout Alaska. Using simulated space and earth science missions, distance education and hands-on workshops, CLCA inspires youth to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and to consider careers in these fields.  Through a variety of hands on mediums, participants work in an environment that spans academic areas while learning valuable skills in problem solving, communication, and teamwork.

We value and look up to all the women working to impact the fields of education and STEM. It is an honor to continue spreading inspiration in students to keep their mission alive.

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.

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