This Unit is designed for students to gain further insights into concepts involved in Earth and Space science. Students are given the core task of learning about a potential asteroid collision and selecting from three different deflection techniques to prevent it from hitting Earth.

The Unit begins at a NASA conference on Earth where they learn about the problem and earn the right to teleport to the base tower orbiting above Earth. Throughout the Missions of the Unit, students will gather data about the composition and distribution of mass in the asteroid, and then will use a decision table to help them match these facts to select the best deflection method.

Based on the decisions they select, students will face the consequences when they return to Earth in the final Mission.

• Students will learn about threats to Earth from NEOs (Near-Earth Objects) as they interview NASA representatives and learn what they do.
• Reflecting on their understanding of the imminent threat, students will write a persuasive essay to NASA to fund additional research of the asteroid.
• Students learn the importance of knowing the chemical composition of asteroids and their distribution of mass when they use this data to select the best deflection strategy to save Earth from the Atlas asteroid.
• Students learn that scientific decisions do have important consequences as they investigate and reflect on the impact of their decision, whether successful or disastrous for Earth.

• Logical decision making is an important part of all science-based professions.
• Decision-making models can be valuable tools in solving complex problem involving subjective data.
• Science involves making inferences based on data.
• Space research is a planetary priority.
• Popular science is filled with misconceptions.