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Pennsylvania Science Teacher of the Year
The Challenger Learning Center offers a unique, hands-on learning experience designed to engage and increase student enthusiasm for science, mathematics, and technology and to enhance creative and critical thinking abilities. We offer three onsite mission scenarios—Rendezvous with a Comet, Return to the Moon, and Voyage to Mars—each of which rotates on a three-year cycle. Each mission is a two-hour learning adventure and is supplemented by an hour-long hands-on activity facilitated by our trained flight directors. Teachers who have booked a mission are offered a one-day teacher professional development workshop to help prepare them and their students for mission day.
In the not too distant future a team of scientists and engineers are on a daring mission to take an up-close look at a comet as it streaks its way across our solar system. Their goal is to plot a successful course to rendezvous with the comet and launch a probe to collect and return dust from the comet's tail. What seems at first to be a routine exploration is filled with challenges and emergencies. Each obstacle that stands in the way of a successful mission requires students to work together as a team to find a solution.
5-4-3-2-1 and liftoff aboard Eagle II. For the first time since 1972, a crew of astronauts is returning to the Moon—and this time they plan to stay! Their mission is to establish a permanent international base on the lunar surface for observation, exploration, and use as a stepping stone for future, manned missions. Leaving Earth's orbit and navigating their way into lunar orbit, students must first retrieve a damaged probe and then build and launch a probe to send to the lunar surface. The crew members will have to function as a team as they begin a new era in human planetary explorations during their mission to "Return to the Moon."
The voyage begins in the year 2076 with a new crew of astronauts enroute to Mars. Control of the incoming flight has been transferred from Houston's Mission Control to Mars Control at the Chryse Station. The crew arriving from Earth on the Mars Transport Vehicle has been specially trained to replace the existing crew of astronauts, who have manned Mars Control for the past two years. After arriving on the Martian surface, the new crew will continue scientific exploration while gaining new insights into the problems NASA scientists face. This information is vital to scientists and explorers for a better understanding of the Red Planet.