Mapping the Moon!
The first of four web seminars on the topic of Lunar
Exploration was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern
time. The presenter was Dr. Anuradha Koratkar, Associate
Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Goddard Earth
Sciences and Technology (GEST) Center. The presentation focused on mapping the Moon
and how NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission will create a new topographic
map of the Moon.
Fifty-six (56) participants were present in addition to the presenter and the NSTA
staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut,
Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
One participant joined the presentation from Canada.
In this presentation educators had the opportunity to learn about the work NASA
engineers and scientists do to create a topographic map of the Moon. Dr. Koratkar
described how the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft will use the Laser Imaging
Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technique to obtain accurate surface elevation measurements
of lunar features and produce a topographic map. This work is of great importance
as NASA prepares for astronauts to return to the Moon in the next decade. During
the program, participants did a simulation using sound pulses to collect information
to generate a topographic map of an unknown region. Dr. Koratkar also talked about
the factors needed for humans to develop a habitat on the Moon. All participants
received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide on NASA Exploration: The Moon, Mars & Beyond,
Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
"I'm very interested in the geography of other worlds, and how we are able to determine
that from orbiting satellites."
"It was very interesting to learn how radiation is used to map the surface of things
such as the moon. I teach about the electromagnetic spectrum in my classes, and
now I have even more to teach my students."
"I teach many sciences- Earth, Life, Physics and Philosophy of Science. I have a
parent trying to get me to take some GIS courses. The information that I learned
tonight has prompted me to enroll."
"I teach science in my special education classroom so the content was valuable as
I can take much of the information and adapt it to the needs of my students. I learned
a lot more than I knew before we started this evening."
Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions,
and a job well done!
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Underwritten in part by NASA