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Heartland Community College

Social Experiences

Create a one-of-kind experience for your STEM explorers with us at the Challenger Learning Center. Groups will participate in an immersive simulated space mission, and face the same challenges and problems encountered by astronauts in space. 

The Simulation (2 hours)

Teams will embark on an immersive simulated space mission, commanding Mission Control, launching into space on the shuttle, and conducting research in the Space Lab.  See details below:

  • Mission Control:
    In Mission Control, take charge of the space mission as flight control technicians responsible for guiding astronauts through their mission.
  • Spacecraft:
    In the Spacecraft, become astronauts responsible for navigating through space, conducting experiments, monitoring crew health and safety, and explore our galaxy.
  • Crew Exchange: 
    Halfway through the mission, teams will switch places, so that each participant has the opportunity to experience BOTH Mission Control and the Spacecraft.

In the mission, your crew will depart for Mars in the Mars Transport Vehicle to follow in the steps of the current research team at the Mars Chryse Station and continue their research. Along the way to Mars, you will deploy a probe from your ship to study Phobos, one of Mars’ moons, and continue to monitor areas of Mars for signatures of life.

  • Work toward STEM patches and seeing how different STEM careers come together to support space missions. Participants will explore careers at NASA by taking on the roles in the simulation. Groups will work together to complete the timed simulation – success will depend on the crew's ability to work together and resolve challenges aboard the spacecraft along the way.

    • Number of participants: 16-30
    • Program length: 2-hours
    • Cost: $400

    Missions have regularly been a part of programs that are working toward:

    • Boy Scouts of America Space Exploration Merit Badge
    • Girl Scouts of American STEM Career Exploration

    After the mission, relax with lunch in our conference rooms and continue to work toward program patches for your group. Groups may even want to explore HCC's Birky Pond, 13 acres of land which includes a stocked pond for fishing.

  • Put your group's STEM knowledge to the test to complete a training simulation like a NASA crew member.

    Our STEM Education Specialists will guide groups through experiments aboard the Space Station to help them understand the potential for life on Mars. Crew members in mission control will monitor experiments and analyze results. Crew members will switch roles to experience challenges in both the Space Station and Mission Control.

    Then, continue the mission with STEM Challenges in our Discovery Lab, designing the next NASA probe. Your students will decide to use either sound waves or light waves to learn about planets in our solar system. Students investigate both electromagnetic and mechanical waves, comparing the behaviors, properties, and limitations through hands on experiments where they see the waves in action.

    Extend your stay to enjoy lunch in one of our conference rooms.

    • Number of participants: 16-30
    • Program Length: 2-hours
    • Cost with STEM Challenges/without STEM Challenges: $500/$400
  • Call us at 309-268-8700 or fill out the form below. 

Contact Us

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