From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA

While science focuses on discovering things about our natural world, engineering and invention is a purely human endeavor. It requires innovation, teamwork, experimentation, planning, and patience. By featuring real NASA missions that highlight the extreme nature of space engineering, the goal of the Museum of Science's planetarium show is to get middle school students and the general public excited about spacecraft engineering and interested in the engineering process. The five major aspects of a mission lifecycle—design, construction, testing, launch, and operations—are highlighted through examples of NASA missions, including the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the James Webb Space Telescope. Each of the show’s three sections starts with a setup question that defines the “problem” that an engineering team aims to solve, giving audiences a balanced, large-scale overview of spacecraft engineering, described contextually using exciting, real-life projects. The show’s major themes include problem solving to cope with expected—and unexpected—challenges, the importance of advance planning and testing, learning from mistakes, and working with a team.

Run time: 30 minutes

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Educator Material

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dream to discovery


This show aligns with the following science standards for Alaska diciplinary core ideas: MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ESS1-3, HS-ESS1-4