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2018/2019 Curriculum for Space Exploration and Astronomy Lessons

 The Space Launch System (SLS) is an American Space Shuttle-derived super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle. It is part of NASA's deep space exploration plans including a crewed mission to Mars.

 

Lesson January 12

INTRODUCTION LESSON: THE COSMIC VIEW

• What does Astronomy study.
• Objects on the night sky.
• Distances in space.
• Planet Earth.
• Solar System.
• Milky Way galaxy.
• Travelling in space.

Lesson January 19

UNDERSTANDING THE STARRY SKY

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Some bright stars and constellations.
• 12 constellations of the zodiac.
• Apparent magnitude of a sky object.
• Celestial coordinates: declination (dec) and rightascension (RA). Celestial equator.

Lesson January 26

TRAVELING IN SPACE AND TIME

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• News of astronomy and astronautics.
• Space traveling: time needed to reach planets and stars and galaxies.
• Traveling in time: is it possible?

Lesson February 2

LIGHT AND TELESCOPES (1)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• The wave nature of light.
• How the light is produced in stars and how it travels.
• Major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum from the shortest wavelengthto the longest.
• The relationship between the color of a star and its temperature.

Lesson February 9

LIGHT AND TELESCOPES (2)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• How refracting and reflecting telescopes work.
• Light-gathering power, resolving power, and magnification.
• Largest telescope in Texas.
• Major optical telescopesin the world.
• Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
• James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

 

Lesson February 16

THE STARS (1)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• News of astronomy and astronautics.
• Determining the distances to stars.
• Star’s chemical composition, surface temperature, internal temperature.
• Star’s motionand space velocity.

Lesson February 23

THE STARS (2)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• The difference between apparent brightness and luminosity.
• The relationship of a star’s mass to its luminosity and temperature (the H–R diagram).
• Comparison of redgiants and white dwarfs with our Sun in terms of mass, diameter, and density.

Lesson March 2

THE STARS (3)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Stellar evolution.
• The life cycle of a star like our Sun.
• Why stars shine (the source of stellar energy).
• Einstein's E = mc2 equation.
• The main stepsin the birth of a star.
• What happens in the advanced stages of evolution for stars of large and small mass: planetary nebulas, white dwarfs, supernovas,pulsars/neutron stars, and black holes.
• Observational evidence for black holes.

Lesson March 23

THE STARS (4)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• News of astronomy and astronautics.
• The origins of the different chemical elements and the importance of supernovas to new generations of stars.
• Synthesis of heavier elements instars and its importance to us.

 

Lesson March 30

GALAXIES 

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• The observational evidence for the Milky Way Galaxy’s shape, size, structure, contents, and formation.
• Sketch the Galaxy showing the location of the Sun.
• Size of the Milky Way Galaxy: time needed to travel between the stars.

Lesson April 6

THE UNIVERSE

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• The most distant object visible to the unaided eye.
• Spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies.
• Clusters of galaxies.
• The observational evidence of large-scale structurein the universe.
• Quasars and other distant objects of the universe (objects of the ancient universe).
• The evidence that the universe is expanding.

Lesson April 13

MEMBERS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• News of astronomy and astronautics.
• The essential difference between a planet and a star.
• The general properties of the eight major planets and their moons.
• Theasteroids (minor planets) and the Kuiper Belt objects.

Lesson April 20

THE MOON

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Phases of the Moon.
• Why the Moon’s sidereal month and synodicmonth differ.
• Moon exploration by unmanned spacecrafts.
• Expeditions to the Moon in 1969-1972.

Lesson April 27

THE PLANETS (1)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• News of astronomy and astronautics.
• The general properties and surface conditions ofMercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
• What is meant by "morning star" and "evening star.
• Theatmospheres of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars.
• The theory of plate tectonics (continental drift) in relation to the geological activity on Earth and on Venus.
• Environmental concerns related to Earth’s atmosphere.

Lesson May 4

THE PLANETS (2)

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Mars Before the Space Age: "canali" (the saga of the canals of Mars), obsession with Mars. Planet Mars in science fiction.
• Conditions on Mars at spacecraft landing sites.
• Explorationof Mars by rovers: from Mars 2 (1971) to Curiosity (2012-now).
• Geological history of Mars.

Lesson May 11

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPACE EXPLORATION

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Konstantin Tsiolkovsky design of the liquid-fuel rockets and the multi-staged rockets.
• The first artificial Earth satellite,Sputnik 1, launched on Oct. 4, 1957.
• Yuri Gagarin, the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1.
• Alan Shepard and John Glenn’s historic flights.
• The First Spacewalk: Alexey Leonov (1965).
• Manon the Moon: Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11,1969).
• The International Space Station (ISS, 1998).

Lesson May 18

NEXT 100 YEARS OF SPACE EXPLORATION

• The evening/morning sky this week.
• Bringing martian soil to Earth and finding life on Mars.
• Building a Moon-orbiting space station.
• Piloted circling of Mars.
• Mansetting foot on Mars.
• Man landing on an asteroid.
• Man landing on one of the two Mars moons.
• Man landing on one of Jupiter's moons.
• Man going into Venus' orbit.
• Unmanned mission to  Centauri.