The Challenger Learning Center (CLC) at Owens
The Howard B. Owens Science Center was the second Challenger Learning Center in the Nation and the first owned and operated by a school system. It was dedicated on July 17, 1989. Our CLC can fly three different missions, Return to the Moon, Voyage to Mars and Rendezvous with a Comet, using 21 Century software. Always check which mission is currently running in the Mission Status window at the top of the page. These simulated virtual missions run about two hours and can accommodate between 24-30 children comfortably. The missions are designed mainly for middle school age students, grades 6-8. Prince George’s County Public Schools have priority in scheduling missions; however private schools and home school groups can also register online and scout troops can call or e-mail to make arrangements for special missions.
The Mission Begins
Students are assigned stations to work at as they learn the variety of jobs performed during a mission. Crew manifests are available online and it helps to have students assigned to their jobs prior to arriving at the CLC. Each mission starts off with a pre-flight briefing of the mission. Next, the students are divided into two groups; half of the students start working in Mission Control, while the other students board the Space Craft. At midpoint in the mission, there is a crew exchange and students switch locations. Once students complete the mission, the group comes together for a final post-flight briefing. Pre-visit and Post-visit materials are available for teachers to help with preparation and follow-up to the students’ day at the Challenger Learning Center.
Scheduling a Mission
To schedule a Challenger Mission you must fill out the online registration form and submit it to the Science Center. A confirmation will be posted online for you once a date has been established and transportation has been arranged. You may only register for the mission that is currently being run. There is no program cost for Prince George’s County Public Schools and a bus will be arranged for transportation. Private schools and Home schools can register online and will be charged a fee per child and must arrange for their own transportation.
The year is 2015. For the first time since 1972, a crew of astronauts is returning to the Moon. This time, they plan to stay.
Their mission is to establish a permanent base on the Moon to observe and explore, as well as test the feasibility of off-Earth settlements. Navigating their way into lunar orbit, students must construct and launch a probe, and analyze a variety of data gathered from the lunar surface to select a site for establishing the permanent Moon base.
Students begin a new era in human planetary explorations during their mission to Return to the Moon.
In Earth years, it is 2076. A now routine Voyage to Mars has brought the latest human crew into Martian orbit.
Control of the incoming flight has been transferred from Houston's Mission Control to Mars Control at Chryse Station. The crew arriving from Earth on the Mars Transport Vehicle has been specially trained to replace the existing crew of astronauts, which has manned Mars Control for the past two years.
After arriving on the Martian surface, the team will collect and analyze a number of planetary samples and data. This information is vital to scientists and explorers for a better understanding of the Red Planet.
In the not too distant future, a team of scientists and engineers are on a daring mission to take an up-close look at a comet as it streaks its way across the galaxy.
Their goal is to plot a successful course to rendezvous with the comet and launch a probe to collect scientific data on the object. They must first construct the space probe and then plot the correct intercept course.
What seems at first to be a routine exploration is filled with challenges and emergencies. Each obstacle that stands in the way of a successful mission requires students to work together as a team and problem solve the solution.