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NASA Astronomy Missions

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Main Topics & Concepts
  • NASA Space Science follows four research themes
  • Space-based data play a role in most areas of astronomy today.
  • New missions are always testing our technological abilities
This topic applies to California state standards 2d in 9th grade Earth Science. 

Science Probe Text
SP I: 15.2 Tools of the Modern Astronomer, Satellites, Space Probes, and Computers.

Activities & Lessons
*Science Education Gateway
Activity Access Description
SEGway* and
webpaper Study different space astronomy missions and do hands-on activities that help illustrate how they work at different wavelengths.

The EUVE Guest Investigator Puzzle

web Students determine the stellar types of mystery stars using satellite spectra in the extreme ultraviolet.
Design a Spacecraft to Look for Life on Europa

NASA Quest/Galileo

webpaper A technology challenge, with goals for the mission, supporting information about the necessary tests and conditions on Jupiter's moon. Europa is a candidate for supporting life, as it is thought to contain water.

CHANDRA: To Build a Satellite

NASA/Chandra mission
webpaper The class studies, then simulates, the building of the Chandra satellite, using specifications, blueprints, and model kits supplied on-line. The activity incorporates the mathematics of ratios and scale through the use of drawings to build a model.
Resources Access Description
Space Science Missions

NASA Office of Space Science

web Complete list from the NASA department that spearheads innovative space astrophysics
Planetary and remote sensing mission sites


web Use this page to access sites on past and present exploratory missions within the solar system. Later missions have their own Education pages
Genesis Education

JPL/Genesis Mission

webpaper Click on Education at the bottom of the Mission site's banner image. A number of activities on element chemistry and elemental abundances, in keeping with the knowledge scientists hope to glean from sampling the solar wind. Great tie-ins between sun/stars and cosmology
Hubble Site


News, image galleries, discoveries, more education materials, and quick games.
Chandra's Proud Parent

NASA/Chandra mission
web Harvey Tananbaum, X-Ray astronomy pioneer, tours the ins and outs of his Chandra "Great Observatory." Small format, but the explanations of how the satellite works are excellent.
Skyview Virtual Observatory; Non-astronomer Page


web Site assembles images of a single source in many wavelength regimes. Many objects can be specified by common names instead of celestial coordinates.