Hey there, Scout! Are you ready to power through the second half of your Space Exploration merit badge? Space is humanity’s final frontier, and you’re about to learn a ton about it in the second half of our ultimate guide. I can’t wait to help you learn more about this intriguing field of study!
You’ve reached part 2 of my ultimate guide to the Space Exploration merit badge! If you’re new to ScoutSmarts, you should first check out part 1 for the answers to requirements 1-4 of the Space Exploration merit badge.
In our last article, we covered a ton of topics, from the history of space exploration to the structure of rockets, laws of motion, and notable space explorers. However, we’re not done yet! In this section, we’ll cover current space missions, space-related careers, and you’ll even plan a mission of your own! 😀
It’s time to get back into it! Take a minute to closely review and think through requirements 5-8 of the Space Exploration merit badge. Then, you’ll be ready to learn the answers to each requirement and engage in some exciting thought experiments to colonize our galaxy. Time to blast off!!
What Are The Space Exploration Merit Badge Answers?
- Do TWO of the following:
5a. Discuss with your counselor a robotic space exploration mission and a historic crewed mission. Tell about each mission’s major discoveries, its importance, and what was learned from it about the planets, moons, or regions of space explored.
5b. Using magazine photographs, news clippings, and electronic articles (such as from the Internet), make a scrapbook about a current planetary mission.
5c. Design a robotic mission to another planet, moon, comet, or asteroid that will return samples of its surface to Earth. Name the planet, moon, comet, or asteroid your spacecraft will visit. Show how your design will cope with the conditions of the environments of the planet, moon, comet, or asteroid.
- Describe the purpose, operation, and components of ONE of the following:
6a. Space shuttle or any other crewed orbital vehicle, whether government-owned (U.S. or foreign) or commercial
6b. International Space Station
- Design an inhabited base located within our solar system, such as Titan, asteroids, or other locations that humans might want to explore in person. Make drawings or a model of your base. In your design, consider and plan for the following:
7a. Source of energy
7b. How it will be constructed
7c. Life-support system
7d. Purpose and function
- Discuss with your counselor two possible careers in space exploration that interest you. Find out the qualifications, education, and preparation required and discuss the major responsibilities of those positions.
Do TWO of the following:
5a) Discuss with your counselor a robotic space exploration mission and a historic crewed mission. Tell about each mission’s major discoveries, its importance, and what was learned from it about the planets, moons, or regions of space explored.
5b) Using magazine photographs, news clippings, and electronic articles (such as from the Internet), make a scrapbook about a current planetary mission.
5c) Design a robotic mission to another planet, moon, comet, or asteroid that will return samples of its surface to Earth. Name the planet, moon, comet, or asteroid your spacecraft will visit. Show how your design will cope with the conditions of the environments of the planet, moon, comet, or asteroid.
To complete this requirement, I’ll first be giving you a bit of background on two incredibly groundbreaking space missions: the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Perseverance Mars rover mission! Then, I’ll tell you about a current planetary mission and give you some ideas for your scrapbook! As always though, feel free to work on the requirements that most interest you. 🙂
Example Robotic Space Exploration Mission: Mars Rover Perseverance
The Mars Rover Perseverance, launched by NASA on July 30, 2020, is a remarkable robotic space exploration mission aimed at discovering more about the mysteries of Mars. Perseverance touched down on Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
The purpose of this mission was to search for signs of ancient microbial life, study the planet’s geology, and prepare for future human missions. Major discoveries that demonstrate the importance of the Perseverance mission include:
- Discovery of Ancient Lake: Perseverance successfully landed in the Jezero Crater, which was once home to an ancient lake, providing a prime location to study past water-related activities on Mars.
- Ingenuity Helicopter: The Perseverance mission introduced the Ingenuity helicopter, the first powered flight on another planet. This achievement has paved the way for aerial exploration of other celestial bodies.
- Sample Collection: One of Perseverance’s primary goals is to collect and store rock and soil samples on Mars. These samples will be returned to Earth by future missions, enabling detailed analysis in terrestrial laboratories.
- Climate Study: Perseverance’s instruments measure Mars’ weather conditions and dust storms, providing valuable data for future human missions and understanding the planet’s climate dynamics.
To learn even more about the Mars Perserverence rover, and see some of the amazing discoveries it made for yourself, be sure to check out the official NASA website and click around! The team at NASA truly put together an amazing visual collection of this incredible mission’s findings. 😀
Example Historic Crewed Mission: Apollo 11 Moon Landing
The iconic Apollo 11 mission will forever remain etched in the history of space exploration. Launched on July 16, 1969, and crewed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, this NASA mission became the first to land humans on the Moon! Major discoveries and importance of the Apollo 11 mission include:
- First Moon Landing: On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the Moon, uttering the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This achievement marked a pivotal moment in human history, showcasing the capabilities of space exploration.
- Lunar Geology: The astronauts conducted experiments and collected lunar samples, providing crucial insights into the Moon’s geology and its similarities and differences from Earth.
- Spacecraft Advancements: Apollo 11’s success demonstrated the remarkable advancements in spacecraft technology, paving the way for future human space exploration missions.
- Inspiration and Unity: The Apollo 11 mission unified humanity, transcending political and cultural barriers, and inspired generations to reach for the stars and embrace the pursuit of knowledge.
For more info on the Apollo 11 mission and humanity’s first-ever moon landing, check out this incredible NASA resource that documents all of the incredible highlights!
5b) Using magazine photographs, news clippings, and electronic articles (such as from the Internet), make a scrapbook about a current planetary mission.
Have you ever made a scrapbook? It’s assembled by taking a lot of cool images, articles, and quotes, and then putting them together in a way that tells a story! Whether you have magazines, newspapers, or just the internet to work with, you can definitely find some awe-inspiring images and snippets for your scrapbook.
Need a place to start? Below is some fascinating info on the Juno Mission to Jupiter. However, this is only one of over 80 active NASA missions! Also, check out this list of missions led by countries around the world — just make sure to pick one that’s both current and planetary 🙂
Juno Mission to Jupiter
The Juno Mission, launched by NASA on August 5, 2011, has been an ongoing robotic space exploration of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016, and has since provided invaluable information about the gas giant’s atmosphere, magnetic field, and interior structure.
If you did the math, you’ll notice that it took five years for Juno to reach Jupiter! Juno then completed its primary mission of 35 orbits around the planet. Now, it’s exploring Jupiter’s rings and moons! The Juno mission is set to continue until September 2025. You can find pictures and learn more on this NASA webpage!
Wish you could fly over Jupiter yourself? This video (1:15) is the next best thing! It uses a real image from the Juno spacecraft and computer-generated animation to simulate the experience of diving into Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
Describe the purpose, operation, and components of ONE of the following:
6a) Space shuttle or any other crewed orbital vehicle, whether government-owned (U.S. or foreign) or commercial
6b) International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is a monumental feat of international cooperation and space exploration. Its primary purpose is to serve as a space base/multi-purpose laboratory/living space for astronauts in low Earth orbit (LEO). It’s one of humanity’s greatest space achievements to date! 😀
A joint effort involving space agencies from around the world, including NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan), and CSA (Canada), the ISS facilitates cutting-edge research across various fields of science, technology, and human biology in the unique environment of outer space.
- Operation: The ISS is gigantic, spanning approximately the size of a football field and traveling at a speed of about 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers per hour) in its orbit around Earth. Its modular design enables continuous expansion and accommodation of various experiments and living quarters for astronauts.
- Laboratory and Research: The ISS houses state-of-the-art laboratories, where scientists conduct experiments in microgravity that are impossible to perform on Earth. This environment teaches us new things about physics, biology, materials science, and the effects of space on the human body. Research aboard the ISS helps address challenges related to long-duration space travel and potential future missions to the Moon and Mars. Advanced water filtration systems used on Earth were also created on the ISS!
- International Collaboration: A key benefit of the ISS is international collaboration. Astronauts from different nations live and work together aboard the station, conducting joint research and sharing knowledge and expertise. This collaboration fosters cooperation between countries, promoting the use of space for the betterment of humanity.
- Human Exploration and Beyond: The ISS serves as the perfect place to test life support systems and technologies that will be essential for future long-term human space missions. It also plays a crucial role in preparing the next steps of space exploration, including missions to the Moon and Mars.
- Educational Outreach: Beyond scientific endeavors, the ISS serves as an educational tool, inspiring students and the general public to engage in STEM fields. Astronauts aboard the ISS regularly communicate with schools and participate in educational events, encouraging the next generation to dream big and pursue careers in space exploration!
For even more interesting info, and even a great walkthrough on how the ISS was created, make sure to check out this epic video (9:21) below!
The International Space Station is one of humanity’s greatest feats, encouraging international cooperation, scientific progress, and space exploration. As it continues its operations, we’re likely to learn of even more scientific breakthroughs and exciting missions occurring thanks to the ISS.
Design an inhabited base located within our solar system, such as Titan, asteroids, or other locations that humans might want to explore in person. Make drawings or a model of your base. In your design, consider and plan for the following:
7a) Source of energy
7b) How it will be constructed
7c) Life-support system
7d) Purpose and function
Imagine venturing beyond Earth to establish an inhabited base in our solar system. In this requirement, you’ll do just that, unlocking the mysteries of distant locations through your very own space base! As an example, I’ll give you a few ideas to consider when creating your very own base design:
Source of Energy: In your design, carefully consider the availability of energy sources on your chosen celestial body. For example, on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, solar power might be less effective due to its distance from the Sun. Instead, you might explore the idea of using nuclear power or harnessing geothermal energy from the Moon’s subsurface oceans. For asteroids, solar panels could be a viable option, taking advantage of the abundance of sunlight in space!
How it Will be Constructed: When constructing the base, think about the materials available on the chosen location. Will you use local resources, like regolith on the Moon or Mars, to build habitats and protective structures? Consider using 3D printing technology or innovative construction techniques as well to make the most of limited resources in space!
Life-Support Systems: The life-support system is crucial for sustaining human life in the inhospitable environment of space. Your design should include systems for air purification, water recycling, waste management, and providing a constant supply of food. You might even explore the concept of closed-loop life-support systems, where waste products are converted back into usable resources.
Purpose and Function: Clearly define the purpose and function of your inhabited base. Will it be a research station, focusing on studying the planet’s geology, atmosphere, or potential for life? Alternatively, could it serve as a hub for resource extraction or a refueling station for deep-space missions? Tailor the design to suit the specific objectives of the mission!
Drawing the Model: Now, it’s time to embrace your creativity and imagine your base in action! Draw a model of your inhabited base and label key aspects. You can use paper, drawing software, or even create a physical model using recyclable materials. Consider adding labels or annotations to explain the different elements of your design. Remember, the more detailed and thoughtful your design, the more you can bring your vision to life. 😀
Through this requirement, you’ll not only explore the scientific and engineering aspects of space exploration but also tap into your problem-solving skills and creativity! As we continue to look to the stars, your imaginative base design may actually become a stepping stone on humanity’s journey beyond Earth.
8) Discuss with your counselor two possible careers in space exploration that interest you. Find out the qualifications, education, and preparation required and discuss the major responsibilities of those positions.
There are so many exciting career options to explore within the realm of space exploration. In this requirement, we’ll discuss two potential careers that are essential for space exploration, and delve into the qualifications, education, preparation, and major responsibilities associated with each position:
To become an aerospace engineer, you’ll typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field, such as mechanical or electrical engineering. Pursuing higher education, like a master’s or doctoral degree, can also open doors to advanced research and leadership roles in the field!
Preparation: During your academic journey, you should take part in hands-on projects, internships, or co-op programs to gain practical experience in designing and building spacecraft, satellites, or rockets. Joining relevant clubs or organizations can also provide networking opportunities and exposure to the industry.
Major Responsibilities: As an aerospace engineer, your primary responsibilities will revolve around designing, developing, and testing aerospace systems and vehicles. You’ll work on propulsion systems, aerodynamics, materials, and control systems to ensure the safety, efficiency, and success of space missions. Collaborating with other scientific teams, you’ll contribute to monumental advancements in space exploration technology!
Becoming a planetary scientist typically requires a strong educational background in planetary science, astronomy, geology, or a related field. You’ll need at least a master’s degree, but a Ph.D. is often preferred for research and academic positions. You’ll need to know math and physics at a super deep level to get into this field!
Preparation: During your academic journey, focus on coursework that emphasizes planetary geology, atmospheric science, and remote sensing. Engage in research opportunities, attend conferences, and publish papers to gain expertise in specific planetary topics of interest.
Major Responsibilities: As a planetary scientist, your main responsibilities involve studying the planets, moons, and celestial bodies in our solar system and beyond. You’ll analyze data from spacecraft missions, telescopes, and other instruments to understand planetary processes, geology, and potential for life. Your research findings may contribute to future space missions and inform our understanding of the solar system!
Both careers offer incredible opportunities to contribute to space exploration and advance our knowledge of the cosmos. By pursuing the necessary education, gaining practical experience, and honing your skills in these fields, you can play a vital role in shaping humanity’s future in space exploration!
With everything we covered, you’re now prepared to shoot for the moon, answer each question on your merit badge worksheet, and earn your Space Exploration badge! Personally, learning about our universe makes me realize how truly miraculous it is that we all exist here on Earth. Feel blessed and do great things with the life you’re given! 🙂
Also, if you’re interested in the difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge, you can check out my full guide here! PS: The article also links to my other ultimate badge guides that’ll help you complete your merit badge worksheets.
I hope you’ve found my guide helpful, and hope that it helped you to gain a greater understanding of space history and exploration. Share this with your fellow Scouts, and use it as a reference if you ever need a refresher. Thanks for reading! Come back soon and, until next time, I wish you all the best on your Scouting journey! 🙂