Image of Moon


"Unlocking the Mysteries: Science on the Edge of Our Solar System" encourages students to think about the mysteries and wonders of the solar system and consider the possibilities. 

This education module features the award-winning 29-minute Discovery Program overview video, “Unlocking Mysteries of Our Solar System,” which takes you along on the explorations of NASA's Discovery missions.  The Discovery Program is making scientists' dreams come true.  Superior science, clever engineering, new technologies, and careful planning combine to create awe-inspiring missions that are showing us closeup views of our cosmic neighbors for the first time in history.


Stardust mission scientists comet Hartley 2 Genesis return capsule
V is for Victory as Stardust mission scientists first see actual particles of comet dust returned to Earth. Spectacular jets send snowballs flying from comet Hartley 2, captured by the EPOXI mission.
Hearts sank when the Genesis return capsule carrying solar wind samples crashed into the Utah desert, but in an extraordinary effort by the science team, more 15,000 fragments were recovered and are being analyzed to meet goals of the mission.   

After learning about the current explorations to planets, asteroids, comets, and more, students respond to a request from NASA for ideas for the next generation of robotic space missions. Students take on the roles of scientists and engineers to design a mission to investigate the cosmic unknowns while learning that space exploration requires many people with different skills, talents, and abilities to work together to achieve their goals.


What questions do you want to search for answers to?
Find your future in space and have fun as you unlock the mysteries of our solar system!

Launch Video

        Watch Unlocking the Mysteries of Our Solar System in 7 segments on our YouTube page and select the video.



Discovery Mission Learning Activities

        Design a Future Discovery Mission Student Activity

       Teacher Guide
        Announcement of Opportunity
        Viewing Guide
        Graphic Organizer
        Mission Expert Research
        Mission Timeline
        Presenting the Research and Experimental Results
        Internet Resources

This education module is written for grades 5-8 classroom teachers. It was developed by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) in Aurora, CO.