MountainQuest

Overview 
Students divide into five research teams to make recommendations on the location of a new observatory for NASA  Students will evaluate scientific and cultural data for five potential sites; in Antarctica, Japan, Chile, and the United States, and make presentations to a formal review panel.  The research teams are:  
  1. Atmospheric Seeing Team:  Observatories are located in places where the atmosphere is very stable.  Team members will create digital movies from "test observations" to assess the quality of the seeing at various locations.
  2. Cultural and Environmental Setting Team:  Observatories are used by astronomers from all over the world.  Team members need to analyze the language, culture, currency, geography, and history of the potential locations.
  3. Meteorology and Climate Team:  Observatories need to be located where there are hundreds of cloudless nights and predictable weather patterns.  Team members need to evaluate the quantity of clear nights and describe the local climates.
  4. Travel Team:  Observatories are used by astronomers from all over the world.  Team members need to critically analyze the accessibility and costs of getting to these locations.
  5. Telescope Design Team:  Modern observatories are equipped with reflecting telescopes.  Team members will need to evaluate the benefits and costs of these telescope designs:  multiple mirror, single mirror, adaptive optics, and recommend which to use.
Resources  Teacher Lesson Plans 

Student Instructions 

Assessment Ideas 

Acknowledgments