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Lunar Research Station Design Challenge

Questions and Answers

The following is intended to help you participate in the challenge. To avoid duplication, please check the following to see if your question has already been answered, in the following areas:

Getting Started
Design Phase
Posting Designs
Participating in Web Casts/Chats

If you are unable to find an answer to your questions here, please send it to:
Quest-Challenge <>

Getting Started:

Does each student need to provide a design of their own or can they work as a group? Is there a limit to the size of the group?
Answer On the student designs, we encourage strongly that students divide and conquer -- in other words, groups are a must to do this project thoroughly. Hopefully groups can tackle different parts of the design, coming together to make sure they coordinate. A class of 20 could come up with 5 teams of 4 to end out with a single design with various sections. The teachers' pages have some suggestions for division of labor, for instance:
1. Location
2. Energy & Life support
3. Human factors
4. Exploration and EVA Activities
5. Research station architecture and materials
6. Contamination

Do you need to have the student ID #'s that I assign?
Answer I do not need your student ID -- all you need to do is make sure the student ID on the post-test matches the one on the pretest.

I have not received my ID nos. Please send it as soon as possible.
Answer Assigning the Student ID numbers is for you to do so that when the students take the post test, they use the same numbers or code. You might try a birthday or whatever you will be able to remember so they use the same numbers in December.

How do I assign Student ID numbers? Is there a specific site for that?
Answer In the past we have assigned ID numbers for the pre-test, only to have teachers and students forget what their numbers were for the post-test. As a result, we are now leaving it up to you -- the point is simply to match the pre- to the post-test while protecting the identity of the student. You could use birth dates or school IDs or.... you name it -- just keep track and use the same numbers for the post test.

Where do I find the pretest?
Answer The link for the pretest is on the welcome page: It's best if you read the page before proceeding so that you understand the student IDs. It is very important that the ID in the pre-test match the ID in the post test.

We are unsure if the students need to find an analogous environment in their hometown or can it be anywhere in the world?
Answer Having your station local to you is one of extensions of the exercise. That will make it much easier to build the station in a realistic way and to evaluate the pros and cons of that location, and what they might do to overcome the obstacles.
If you're talking about a location outside of town but close, that works, but I think staying "close to home" will help them to make comparisons of environment.

How does the entire procedure work?
Answer The instructions are contained in both the Welcome letter <> and the front page <>
If you have registered, you should have received these links. If not, please go to the challenge front page and follow the links to register for this challenge.

What things should I include in my model?
Answer This information is included on the teacher page <>

Will I have to create the model in a small-scale imagery or should I create Moon-like environment here on Earth?
Answer When you have read about Analog research stations, you will probably understand this better. The task is to design and build a full- or scale-model of an Earth-based research station that will support living adaptively and working efficiently on the Moon. 

Can I participate individually on behalf of my astronomy club?
Answer This challenge is primarily focused on students in grades 5 – 8 (ages 10 - 14) though we will attempt as much as possible to include others (you don't say what level you are). We definitely encourage group work because of the multifaceted nature of this challenge, but individuals may submit projects if they wish.

Will the students  receive awards for their submissions?
Answer For classes who complete the process (pre-test, design submission, post-test & teacher evaluation) we send individual certificates and some "NASA goodies" for classroom and students.

Design Phase:

Do they turn in a drawing or an actual model
Answer: What we would ideally be looking for, in the preliminary design would be the initial design concepts to include a brief written summary of concepts addressed and solutions that will be a part of their design. Hopefully also included would be a rough sketch of the station to amplify the direction these students are taking. Once they have received expert review, they will refine their design based on the expert suggestions and then build the station (either full or to-scale sized).

As per the teacher instructions, the final submission, will include:
1. Documentation of the full- or scale-model built by the team - preferably digital photos
2. Floor plan – drawn by hand or with a computer
3. A written description of the Research Station, justification for design decisions, analysis of strengths and weaknesses

All of this would preferably be done digitally for posting on the submission page online.

Do they just build a habitat or do they also have to design something for transportation
Answer: Whatever you and the students have decided to take on of the project is great. If you do not have enough participation to tackle the whole project, focus on what they can do thoroughly (especially the station itself).
How many residents/visitors should the unit be sized for? For how long of a stay at a time?
Answer from
Jen Heldmann
This is a good question. There have been many studies to determine the optimal crew size. For this exercise we should go with the findings that suggest a crew of four will travel to the Moon. For duration, I think 2-week missions to start, and then ramping up to 6 months or so, and then potentially longer (to simulate the 1.5 years on the surface of Mars).

Posting Designs:

Can the final designs be sent by email?
Answer: Absolutely,that's the way we prefer that they be sent!
Please see:
I have six students in my group. Is it okay for all of them to be in the picture I send in as long as I have their parents'permission?
Answer: Yes. We do need the parent permissions too -- see the online form accessible from

Participating in Web Chats / Web Casts:

My question though is how will we be able to access the experts to review the models and to participate in the webchat. I'm not sure if I have the right equipment...
Answer: For participating in the chats, all you need is a browser connected to the Internet (Flash is part of the chat room function, so you'll want to be sure that you have flash downloaded). For webcast it would require a browser that can accommodate Windows Media or RealMedia Players. More information may be found at:
Hope this helps,


 FirstGov  NASA

NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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