On July 28, the Space Foundation, Lockheed Martin, and SpaceClass announced the launch of a strategic online education collaboration called Orion’s Path. Orion is one of NASA’s Constellation Program vehicles that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon, and Mars. Orion’s Path is an interactive, online, Web-based education program using videos and virtual science labs to engage students in research being conducted for space exploration.
The project was launched with a luncheon and program workshop at the University of Colorado, Denver for 30 Denver area teachers. The luncheon included remarks by Colorado Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brian, NASA Orion Project Manager Mark Geyer, Lockheed Martin Constellation Project Manager Bill Johns, and University of Colorado Denver, School of Education & Human Development Asst. Professor Carole Basile.
In Orion’s Path, students get an in-depth look at Constellation vehicles and how they will work; hear from a lunar habitat and spacesuit expert; meet an astronaut who explains why it is important to explore the moon and beyond; and learn about making oxygen and water from the resources found on the moon. Finally, students can take Orion to Mars and compare the geology, gravity, temperatures, and other special features of the red planet to those of the moon.
Lesson contents meet National Learning Standards for middle school grades, and use of the site is free to teachers. The Space Foundation contributed additional resources to the site for teachers who require more in-depth information about space science topics. The program is located at www.spaceclass.org.
Orion's Path is one of numerous educational programs the Space Foundation supports as a resource for teachers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. For more information about Space Foundation education programs, visit www.SpaceFoundation.org/education.
This article is part of Space Watch: August 2008 (Volume: 7, Issue: 8).