Solar Weather Action Center

Solar Weather Action Center

Monitor the progress of an entire solar storm.

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NES Project

Boy in a spacesuit

Learn more about the NASA Explorer School project!

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NASA DLN

A woman and an astronaut sitting at a desk with a television screen in the background on which students appear and are waving at the viewers

Learn more about opportunities available through the NASA Digital Learning Network.

›  DLN Website

Living and Working in Space: Habitat

    What kinds of habitats can be designed to support extended human activity in space or on the moon or Mars?

    People have basic needs for food, water, air and shelter. Ecosystems within Earth's biosphere provide for these needs. Since humans have begun to explore space and develop plans to explore other planets, NASA has been developing ways to support astronauts who will spend longer and longer periods of time away from Earth. The International Space Station, space shuttles and spacesuits are habitats designed to meet basic human needs. NASA is developing and testing systems to address the requirements of people living in space, on the moon or on Mars.

    The Living and Working in Space: Habitat module is a problem-based learning activity. The problem requires students to propose and defend a design for a research habitat for six explorers on the moon or Mars. To prepare for this final problem, students explore ecosystems, human nutrition and fitness, recycling of air and water, and waste removal. Curriculum goals are met using the exciting context of human space exploration. Students extend their understanding of basic concepts by learning about the space station and space shuttles as habitats. Their design and explanation of the design for the research habitat may be used to evaluate their understanding.

    Living and Working in Space: Habitat is divided into an introduction and engagement activity, and four content areas. The engagement activity is called "The Sealed Room" and introduces the problem students will solve. The content areas are Life in a Sealed Container, Healthy Choices, Air and Water, and Trash or Treasure. A teacher's guide and final assessment rubric are available.
    Download Teacher's Guide (PDF)
    Download Assessment Rubric: Final Project (PDF)
    Download Sample Assessment Rubric : Final Project (PDF)

    The Sealed Room
    This introduction and engagement activity are essential components. They set the stage for subsequent investigations and identify knowledge gaps and misconceptions. They should be done with students even if one or more of the four content areas are omitted.
    Download Student Assignment (PDF)

Related Resources

Content Modules

  • Drawing of two greenhouses filled with plants

    Life in a Sealed Container

    Students learn about ecosystems as they investigate the requirements for plant growth and for successfully maintaining biological systems in sealed containers.

  • Drawing of a man working with plants in an enclosed room.

    Healthy Choices

    Students learn about nutrition and exercise plans that will benefit them and apply that knowledge to the needs of astronauts.

  • H20 appears on top of a background of many other chemical elements

    Air and Water

    Students learn about chemical cycles (carbon dioxide, oxygen, water) in ecosystems and the need for protecting water supplies and clean air.

  • The symbol for recycling appears on a background of space including the Moon and Mars

    Trash or Treasure

    Students learn about recycling matter and explore creative solutions demanded for long-term space exploration.