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Space is an extreme environment. Students learn the Engineering Design Process in the context of space exploration and space travel; how to define the problem, identify constraints, and design a solution. The space environment is the starting point of this demonstration in engineering practice where engineering solutions must contend with the environmental constraints of the space environment. Students learn that space is a place of extremes in temperature, is a vacuum, experiences microgravity, and exposes hardware and astronauts to elevated levels of radiation. Mission operations, such as launch, orbit and deep space travel, and landing are presented with the engineering challenges they pose for spacecraft. Students learn how NASA engineers solve these challenges in a demonstration that uses NASA artifacts, such as space shuttle tiles to demonstrate thermal protection systems, and real NASA missions to lay out design solutions for interplanetary entry, descent, and landing of space hardware. NB: This demo nicely complements our Egg Drop engineering challenge learning lab (please refer to learning labs section for more info).

thumb_Engineering for Space
experience: Live Science Demonstrations
grade: Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
NGSS: Engineering, Technology, and the Application of Science, ETS1: Engineering Design, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3