Rocket 21 J2M VOICES Making the Journey

Making the Journey thumb Making the Journey to Mars

Hands-on iconMessages from the Planetarium Video:

Transportation System

To make the trip, NASA is going to need a larger, more powerful rocket system than has ever been developed in the Space program. This transportation system is in production and has three components: an advanced spacecraft to house the crew, which is called Orion, a powerful expandable rocket Space Launch System (SLS), and a modern spaceport with an assembly plant, and a new launch site, currently being built at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

  • Orion: The Orion is unlike any spacecraft that has ever been built. It will hold 4 astronauts and take humans to a variety of space destinations.
  • Space Launch System: The new SLS will have a large version that can send a habitat and supplies to Mars orbit and surface in advance of a smaller version that will take the astronaut crew.

Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM):

  • NASA is now planning a robotic spacecraft to journey into deep space to capture a large boulder from an asteroid. Using advanced solar electric propulsion, the spacecraft will move the massive asteroid boulder safely into orbit around our moon.
  • Humans will venture deeper into space than ever before to inspect the multi-ton boulder positioned in lunar orbit. The mission will test new spacesuits and systems while the astronauts select and gather samples from the primitive, multi-ton mass.
  • Other missions of Orion and SLS, in the area between Earth and the moon, will conduct exercises in advanced life support, deep space habitation, orbit changes, and staging for assembly operations — all needed for future human missions to Mars.

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Hands-on icon Hands-on Activity

Complete at least one activity below and share your comments when you submit your topic.

  • Launch It
    Design an air-powered rocket that can hit a distant target.
  • Touchdown
    Create a platform that can safely cushion “astronauts” when they land on a table near you.
  • Heavy Lifting
    Construct balloon-powered rockets to launch the greatest payload possible to the classroom ceiling.
  • On Target
    Modify a paper cup so it can zip down a line and drop a marble onto a target.
  • Where Do They Come From? The Meteorite-Asteroid Connection
    Plot paths meteoroids might take and manipulate models to learn more about the path meteorites take to get from the asteroid belt to Earth.

Play icon Interactives

Play at least one game or interactive from below and share your comments when you submit your topic.

  • SLS -- How do Rockets Stack Up
    Compare statistics for Saturn V, Atlas V, Space Shuttle, Delta II, and sounding rockets.
  • What is Orion?
    Learn more about Orion, NASA’s new spacecraft, built to take humans farther into space than they have ever gone before.
  • Fly to Mars Challenge
    Test your skills to launch a spacecraft from Earth to Mars in this simulation.
  • What If It Hit My Town?
    Google Earth and an impact effect calculator help you observe what would happen if different sized asteroids and comets were to hit Earth.
  • Risky Business Challenge
    This sorting game asks you to rank different threats, including being hit by an asteroid, by lifetime risk of death. Note: these aren’t personal risks, but are averaged over a global population.
  • Dino-killer Asteroid Challenge
    Carefully observe this image to try to find a properly scaled dino-killer asteroid on Earth.

Video iconVideos

Watch another video and share your comments when you submit your topic. (Optional)

  • Orion
    NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crews to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space. View one or more of these videos to learn more about Orion.
  • Space Launch System (SLS)
    NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is an advanced launch vehicle for a new era of exploration beyond Earth’s orbit into deep space. SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket, will launch astronauts in Orion spacecraft on missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars, while opening new possibilities for other payloads including robotic scientific missions to places like Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.
  • Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM)
    NASA is developing a first-ever robotic mission to visit a large near-Earth asteroid, collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. Once it’s there, astronauts will explore it and return with samples in the 2020s.

plus iconWant to learn more? Explore resources at the Human Exploration and Operations website.

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