LRO Moon Tune
Children ages 8 to 13 sing about NASA's LRO mission to the Moon in this 10–20-minute introductory activity. They learn that craters on the Moon may harbor water ice, and they discover how LRO is searching for this and other resources.
What's the Point?
- The Moon's surface is covered with craters caused by asteroid impacts.
- NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission to the Moon is mapping the lunar surface and its resources in detail and gathering information about the lunar environment. This will help scientists and engineers better understand our Moon.
For each child:
- 1 LRO Moon Tune song sheet
- The song shares information about the lunar features and highlights information about the LRO mission itself. The song is sung to the tune "You Are My Sunshine."
- Consider dividing the children into groups, with each group responsible for different parts or stanzas. Depending on the children's learning level, consider having them explain the information contained within the stanzas after they have sung the song.
1. Share with the children that NASA is excited about the Moon. NASA's spacecraft — the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbite — is orbiting the Moon to help us better understand its environment and resources. This spacecraft will collect science information that will help scientists and engineers better understand Earth's nearest neighbor.
2. Divide the children into groups, distribute the LRO Moon Tune to them, and review it before singing.
4. Review what the children learned from the song.
- How are craters on the Moon formed? Craters are formed when asteroids or comets strike the Moon. Most of the larger craters formed early in the Moon's history, until about 3.9 billion years ago. The Moon and all other planetary bodies in our solar system still are hit by asteroids and comets — they usually are small and infrequent, however.
- What important resource may comets deliver to the Moon when they strike? Ice; comets contain water ice.
- Why would ice from comets not melt? If it is in the deep craters or in the polar regions, where the Sun's heat does not reach it, it could stay frozen.
- Why would finding water ice on the Moon be important? Human explorers can melt the ice to use for drinking, making food, and bathing. Water can also be processed to make rocket fuel.
- What is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter? What is it studying and from where? The LRO is a NASA spacecraft in orbit around the Moon.
- What kinds of information will the LRO collect for scientists? Measurements of temperature and radiation from the Sun, maps of resources like types of rocks and water ice, maps and pictures of the lunar surface and its features.
- Why does NASA want to collect more information about the Moon? LRO will provide important information about where certain resources — ike water ice and elements in rocks — exist, where the surface is safe for landing and building, and where scientific questions about the Moon's formation and changes can best be studied. All these activities will prepare future astronauts — the children in your program! — to explore the Solar System.
In ConclusionInvite the children to use their knowledge of the LRO mission and the lunar environment to play Moon Pie.
June 17, 2010