Return to the Moon

Return to the Moon Logo
The year is 2040 and the astronauts are on their way to the Moon. This time, they plan to stay. Navigating their way into lunar orbit, students launch a probe and analyze a variety of data to select a site for establishing a permanent moon base. The crew will begin a new era in human exploration during their Return to the Moon.

Mission Details

Group Size:  Up to 34

Age Group:  5th and above    

Program Costs: 

  • $550 per mission in the fall (July 1-December 31) 
  • $600 per mission in the spring (January 1 - June 30)
  • $100 Educator Training is required (see below) 

School and Group Mission Specifics

A school or youth group mission includes the curriculum package with pre and post visit classroom activities.

Mission Hours: 

  • AM and PM Missions Available
  • Monday—Friday                     
  • 9:00am—11:30 am*                
  • 12:15pm—2:45 pm*

*There is some flexibility here. We understand that some schools start later or that busses run on different schedules at various districts. Please feel free to call with any questions or concerns.                  

Evenings and weekends are scheduled by request. Call for more information.

Scheduling:  Reservations are required. The teacher workshop is scheduled at the time of the mission reservation. Complete the Mission Scheduling Form located on the Schedule a Mission page to schedule your mission.

Our “lunch pad” is available for groups who wish to bring their own lunches. Our science lab is also available for for teachers to utilize with their students for additional inquiry based learning time!

Don't wait, our schedule fills up quickly. 

Educator Training

Educators who schedule Challenger Learning Center missions for their classes will attend a half day mission preparation workshop the first year of their involvement in a particular scenario. During the workshop, they will participate in mission activities, learn about the logistics of their students' mission day, and receive a curriculum package.

During training, educators will receive a Mission Preparation Manual, which includes information on the following:
  1. Challenger Center's Pedagogy the New State Standards
  2. Mission Prep Tips
  3. Team Assembly
  4. Team Descriptions
  5. Crew Manifests
  6. Job Applications for these positions
Supplemental Resources:
  1. Content Background
  2. Name Tags with Team Assignment Template
  3. Mission Day Logistics

Top Gun Training - Optional

Top Gun Training is a 2-hour after school training for teachers who have completed Teacher Training Levels I and II in the same scenario. The major objective of the training is to prepare the teacher as an Assistant Flight Director in Mission Control during the student mission. At the completion of the training, the teacher will:
  • be able to assist the Flight Director in Mission Control during the mission
  • feel comfortable and competent in assisting the students through the mission by having a
  • general understanding of the station manuals and computers 
  • be able to guide the students to find solutions to problems on their own
  • be fitted for a loaned flight suit that he/she will wear the day of the mission
  • be able to share input during the mission briefing and de-briefing
  • in some cases be able to lead the mid-briefing during the crew exchange
  • have a general understanding the imbedded emergencies and their solutions

Online Payment Link for In Person Missions

Mission Documents

Job Descriptions for Mission Participants

Communication Team: The Communication team (COM) is responsible for all verbal messages between the Spacecraft and Mission Control.

Data Team: The Data team (DATA) is responsible for all written communication between the Spacecraft and Mission Control.

Navigation Team:  The Navigation team (NAV) is responsible for navigating the spacecraft. They must make sure all Earth-based tracking stations are online so that the spacecraft can leave Earth’s orbit. They must also work with the Probe and Remote team to choose and locate a lunar landing site. 

The Mission Control team will conduct landing simulations to determine the best option for landing on the moon.

Probe Team:  The Probe team (PROBE) is responsible for downloading data from an Earth-orbiting probe and then retrieving the probe. They will then be responsible for assessing if there was any damage to the motherboard. After completing that, they will also correctly have to assemble a probe to be launched to the lunar surface prior to landing.

The Mission Control team is responsible for analyzing the downloaded data and identifying a replacement part for any faulty probe parts. They will also give instructions on how to assemble the probe over the headsets.

Life Support Team:
The Life Support team (LS) will monitor the temperature, air pressure, humidity levels, LiOH filters, oxygen system, solar panels, and water sources..

The Mission Control team records and analyzes this data to determine if the results are within acceptable levels.

Medical Team:  The Medical team (MED) is responsible for monitoring the health of the crew. They will monitor the following: visual reaction time, auditory reaction time, heart rate, skin temperature, and respiration.

The Mission Control team records and analyzes this data to determine if the results are within acceptable levels for that crew member.

Remote Team:
The Remote team (REM) is responsible for conducting tests on the samples of lunar rock and regolith collected from the Probe.

The Mission Control team records and analyzes the data to learn more about the geological composition of the Moon.

Isolation Team:
The Isolation team (ISO) works at three stations aboard the Spacecraft and uses robots to manipulate hazardous materials in isolated chambers.

ISO 1 will determine the volume and mass of various chemicals.

The Mission Control team compares the current mass of each chemical to yesterday’s mass to determine if the chemical is leaking.

ISO 2 will monitor the solar array. They will check these frequently.

The Mission Control team records, researches, and analyzes this data provided by the spacecraft astronauts to determine if a shield must be placed over the solar array to protect it from impending meteoroid shower.

ISO 3 will check for normal levels of radiation from each radiation detector using a Geiger counter.

The Mission Control team records, averages, and analyzes this data to determine if the radiation levels are within acceptable levels.

​Press Team: This team is optional.  The press team interviews the mission controllers and astronauts and prepares articles and news releases about the mission.

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