Home Lesson for Students
By following the links at the bottom of these pages,  you can learn about an exciting NASA mission called CHIPS - which stands for Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer.  This is a mouthful - but when you break it down,  it's not so bad:
Cosmic- outer space
Hot- you know what hot means!
Interstellar- between the stars
Plasma- a gas made up of charged particles
Spectrometer- an instrument used to measure light (spectro means light, meter means measurement)

The CHIPS mission is studying the plasma between the stars!  Why???

What's so interesting about this plasma?


This picture shows columns of cool hydrogen gas, plasma, and dust in the Eagle Nebula.  This is the stuff that the CHIPS mission is studying. New stars will be formed in it.
You can also use this website to explore some of the science behind the CHIPS mission.  Your teacher may ask you to write in a science journal - this is a great way to keep track of what you are learning and any questions you might have (a lot of scientists keep a notebook just like this when they are doing their work).

We've included some questions in the lesson to help you think about new ideas.  Whenever you see the light bulb symbol, it would be a good idea to write down your answers to these questions in your journal or notebook.   It's okay if you don't know the answers right away - in fact,  you'll probably find that your answers change as you go on.  Writing down your answers as you go will let you look over your work and see how much you've learned!  


We've also highlighted some words that might be new - these would also be a good addition to your science journal (note that these words don't link to a glossary - but the meanings of these words are included on the page).

On some pages, you'll see a stop-light symbol.  When you see this at the bottom of a  page,   you should check with your teacher to see if there is an activity or demonstration planned before going on to the next page.

When you are done,  you may have a few new ideas about density,  heat, temperature, and how things cool off.  In fact,  you might have a few ideas about how the ISM cools - which, after all,  is what the CHIPS mission is trying to figure out.  When you're done,  if you have any questions or great ideas you can send an e-mail to one of the scientists working on the CHIPS mission!

For High School and more advanced level of explanation of the CHIPS science please take the following self guided tour