Tuesday, February 2nd, 2022
At some point, every young boy or girl thinks about what it would be like to explore outer space. They might dream of becoming an astronaut, building rocket ships, or making groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Until they can make a mission to the stars, young minds can do the next best thing. They can explore space thanks to new technological strides, like the James Webb Space Telescope and STEM learning activities like OJO’s Space Rescuers.
Help your children develop their interest and excitement about science and space by discussing some of the outstanding space victories of 2021.
The James Webb Space TelescopeThe James Webb Telescope launched on December 25th, 2021, giving scientists a chance to explore space in a whole new way. It will teach us things we never knew about our solar system. But even more amazing, its primary mission is to explore the early universe, including some of the first galaxies in existence, as well as distant worlds. The telescope could hold the key to giving us more information about planets that orbit other stars.
Bringing Samples Back From Mars
Another major space victory during 2021 was the start of the Mars Sample Return campaign in February. The first step was when NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, landed on The Red Planet to collect rock samples.
The goal is for the Mars Sample Return campaign to bring specific sample tubes back to Earth for further study. So far, 4 of Perseverance’s 43 sample tubes contain rock cores, and one has samples of the planet’s atmosphere. These Martian rock samples could hold important information about ancient, microscopic life on Mars.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Flew For Over 30 MinutesThe Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took its 17th flight on December 5, 2021, reaching a pivotal milestone when it surpassed 30 minutes of flight time. The total flight time was 30 minutes and 48 seconds. Other notable achievements were reaching a height of 40 feet, going 2.2 miles, and reaching speeds as fast as 10 miles per hour.
Changing The Mars AtmosphereThe atmosphere on Mars is thin and mostly comprised of carbon dioxide. But, in April of 2021, NASA’s MOXIE instrument converted the atmosphere into oxygen for the very first time. MOXIE stands for “Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment.”
We Touched The Sun
Well, more precisely, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe made contact with our closest star when it became the first spacecraft in history to touch the sun. The craft flew through the sun’s upper atmosphere, called the corona, sampling the magnetic fields and particles present there. This achievement is a vital step to understanding our solar system.
To help nurture the young minds in your life, make sure to check out all of the resources we have to offer. With interesting hands-on activities, your children can explore concepts and ideas from all angles. Our engaging toys and games spark curiosity and fuel STEM learning so that today’s young minds grow into tomorrow’s future leaders and innovators.
Image from Northrop Grumman