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This is a lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students determine the pros and cons for different ways we can explore another world, either by observing from the Earth or by sending a spacecraft to fly by, orbit, or land on the world. In Activity 2, the students plan a complete mission to explore another world in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students come to understand that what scientists want to learn about an object determines how they plan the mission, but real-life constraints such as cost and time determine what actually can be accomplished.
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