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New Mexico State University

21st Century Explorer: About the Program Today's Knowledge for Tomorrow's Explorer

Mario Torres

About 21st Century Explorer

The NASA 21st Century Explorer is a series of educational material emphasizing standards-based instruction, Problem-Based Learning, and scientific inquiry. Exploration topics focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematic skills. Each package consists of (1) a 30-second newsbreak; (2) an educator and student guide to hands-on activities; (3) an interactive web site featuring a web explanation of the exploration topic, glossary and quiz. Each activity guide features background information, science process skills, national education standards, materials list, step-by-step procedure for activity, rubric and curriculum explorations.

Find Answers to These Exploration Questions:

  • How will your imagination help you become an explorer?
  • What will replace the space shuttle?
  • Where would a space explorer find water and oxygen?
  • Why return to the moon before going to Mars?
  • What would you find on the moon's surface?
  • Why do robots travel places before people?
  • What would you hear in a weather report from Mars?
  • How would your body change in space?
  • Are we there yet?
  • How can we travel faster in space?
  • Why do we want to study and travel to Mars?
  • Why do astronauts eat tortillas instead of bread?

Exploration Activities:

  • Cool Suits
  • Designing a Crew Exploration Vehicle
  • Cleaning Water
  • Moon Mining
  • Making Regolith
  • What's Hidden Inside
  • Those Who Have Come Before Me
  • Get A Leg Up
  • Ray Shielding
  • Speed It Up
  • Let's Investigate Mars
  • Food for Spaceflight

Visit our website,, for:

  • 30-Second Newsbreaks
  • Online Web Explanations
  • Hands-On Activity Guides
  • National Education Standards
  • Theme Music