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5th - 8th Simulated Space Missions

Send your students on the journey of a lifetime.

"I loved my job at being the communicator.  My favorite part was how well we worked together.  I wish it could've went on forever!" - 6th Grade Student


Mission Scenarios

  • A team of scientists and engineers are on a daring mission to take an up-close look at a comet as it streaks across the galaxy. The goal is to plot a successful course to Rendezvous with a Comet. First, the team must plot the correct intercept course. Then they must construct and launch a space probe to gather data from the comet. What seems to be a routine exploration at first, becomes filled with challenges and emergencies. Each obstacle requires students to work together as a team to find a solution in order make the mission successful.
  • The year is 2076. A handful of facilities have been established on Mars, including a greenhouse, a mobile geological survey base, and a centralized research habitat. The primary human habitat is not on Mars, but on one of its moons, Phobos. A large shuttle regularly ferries astronauts and scientists between the base on Phobos and the surface of Mars. This shuttle, or Mars Transport Vehicle (MTV), carries parts to build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to continue the search for the evidence of life and water. However, when crew members discover an imminent threat to their MTV and the Martian surface facilities, they must act quickly to save their stations, their research, and their lives.

Mission Details

A simulated space mission accommodates 16-32 students and costs $550 (September - December) and $650 (January - May). Mission times are 9:00 -11:30 am and 11:45 am - 2:15 pm, Monday through Friday (except holidays).

Teacher Training

Teacher training workshops equip teachers with knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to prepare students for their Rendezvous with a Comet or Expedition Mars mission. While there is no charge for teacher training workshops, it is strongly recommend that teachers attend a workshop prior to their scheduled mission. 

Upcoming workshops are scheduled for: September 5, 2019 from 9am-3pm or 5-8pm and January 14, 2020 from 9am-3pm or 5-8pm.  Classroom activities, lunch or refreshments, and 6 or 3 PDUs are included. 

Package Options

  • Demonstrations and fun hands-on activities about motion, waves, and electricity will engage the entire class. Cost of presentation is $75 per group (10-32 students). 
  • Students work within teams utilizing NASA roles and to reach decisions as they implement one of three Mars scenarios. Each session is expected, but not guaranteed, to end with live interaction with a NASA or other STEM expert to discuss STEM careers with students and encourage future efforts.  Teachers may choose from two options:

    • MSA: Launch focuses on the math and physical science behind launching a spacecraft to Mars.

    • MSA: Land is an earth science based mission looking at the geology of Mars.

    Cost of the MSA program is $125 per group (10-32 students).

Lunch Options

Students may bring sack lunches to eat at the Challenger Learning Center or order from Avanti's. Avanti lunches include sandwich, chips, cookie or applesauce, and water. Prices range from $3 to $6 per lunch.

Gift Shop Orders

Commemorate your mission with Challenger Learning Center merchandise and apparel. Order forms can be completed in advance and picked up at the end of the mission.

Contact Us

Challenger Learning Center
1500 W. Raab Rd.
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8700
Fax: 309-268-7984