Alright folks, here is the first vocab lesson of 2018 and the last one for winter break. Stay tuned for a Kahoot quiz on your Martian terms coming up later this week!
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)- One of NASA’s chief centers, based in Pasadena, California, and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). JPL develops and operates robotic spacecraft, including the Mars rovers, among other projects.
Kennedy Space Center (KSC)- Named after President John F. Kennedy and located on the East Coast of Florida, Kennedy is NASA’s main launch center for human spaceflight. It also conducts launches for a variety of NASA missions.
Lagrangian point- A “flat” part of space terrain, where a satellite or station can remain in place relative to two bodies, without expending energy. Five such points exist between the Sun and Earth. L1 and L2, the most potentially useful points for space exploration, each lie a distance from Earth equal to four times the distance of the Moon.
Low Earth orbit (LEO)- a region in space 89 to 1,200 miles above Earth. What’s so Special About Low Earth Orbit? For one, it’s the first step into space.
Magnetosphere- A region around a planet where the magnetic field controls the motions of charged particles. Earth’s magnetosphere deflects or traps radiation that would otherwise prove deadly to most species, including humans. Leaving the magnetosphere presents one of the great challenges to human space flight beyond the Gravity Well.
Microgravity- The condition of free fall, when an object appears to be weightless. Microgravity in space allows the formation of precise crystals, along with other forms of manufacture and experimentation that would be near- impossible on Earth.
NACA- The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA’s predecessor.
NASA- NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was started in 1958 as a part of the United States government and is charged with overseeing science and technology in relation to airplanes or space.
Speed of light- The speed at which photons move through empty space, about 186,000 miles per second. Now that's fast!
Sputnik- The first artificial satellite to successfully enter Earth’s orbit. Sputnik marked the dawn of the space age and the space race as the United States scrambled to regain its status as the leading nation. Termed the “Sputnik Effect,” fingers quickly turned towards education as the culprit for the Soviet Union’s lead thus leading to endless education reforms in an effort to regain technological ground.
Stennis Space Center- Stennis is responsible for NASA’s rocket propulsion testing and for partnering with industry to develop and implement remote sensing technology.
Van Allen belts- A pair of high-radiation bands trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, as close as 500 miles and as far as 40,000 miles from Earth.
What are the physical consequences of light-speed travel?
Where did the Stennis Space Center get its name?
What terminology would you add to the Martian Classroom?
The discovery of the Van Allen belts is credited to James Van Allen. How did he come across this discovery and why does it matter?
In Tim Urban’s entertaining take on the history of the space race, he makes this profound statement, “1972 people would be blown away by our smartphones and our internet, but they’d be just as shocked that we gave up on pushing our boundaries in space.” Why do you think we gave up? Today is January 1, 2018. What do you think we will accomplish in the next year? 10 years? 45 years?