Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Space Place website all about?

The Space Place was started in February 1998 as an education and public outreach project of NASA's New Millennium Program, which continues to be its primary supporter. Its target audience is elementary-school-age kids. We wanted to reach this young audience with the message that science and technology and learning about space are fun and within their grasp. We designed it with a kid-friendly look and feel. It is modular, so visitors can pick and choose different standalone projects or activities that interest them at the moment.

Why is there a need for NASA to have a children's website?

Not many sites about space science and technology are written specifically for kids. This one is and does not link out to other sites that are not written for kids. In addition, it is non-commercial, free, and avoids the sensory overload of flashing advertisements and irrelevant popup windows.

What makes this website unique as a science and technology site for children?

It leads the visitor one small step at a time through subjects that people might consider too difficult for a lay person, let alone a child. Challenging subjects such as the electromagnetic spectrum, conservation of momentum, orbits, gravitational waves, tidal forces, binary and hexadecimal notation, and interferometry are treated simply and concisely, with everyday analogies and metaphors, concrete examples, and compelling illustrations.

What kinds of activities are on The Space Place?

Some are hands-on projects (click the "DO" menu.). These projects either result in a tangible product, like our "galactic mobile" or model planet Saturn, or offer science demonstrations kids can do with ordinary materials. Some activities are interactive games and puzzles (click the "PLAY" menu). Some are animations or interactive demonstrations (click "EXPLORE") of science and technology concepts. Then there are amazing facts (also "EXPLORE") about space science and technology.

How responsive has the public been to the site?

The number of visitors per month has grown continuously since we first went online. We are now (2011) hosting around 14,000 visitors per day. Also, the site has won a number of website awards. We regularly receive appreciative e-mail messages from teachers, parents, and the kids themselves.

How can teachers use this site in their instruction?

For one thing, they can use the "DO" activities as homework assignments. Other activities they could print and use as reading assignments. The child could do an interactive game or demonstration on the computer, read the accompanying text, then tell the other children in the class about what they learned. The "PARENTS & EDUCATORS" menu includes links to printable pictures for the classroom, a large collection of classroom activity articles previously published by the International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA), and downloadable and printable posters and other printed products.

Why was The Space Place translated into Spanish?

Over 35 million Americans speak Spanish at home—12% of U.S. residents. NASA wants to reach as many Americans as possible with information about its missions and what it is learning about science and space, and the new technologies it is helping to develop. While school children in the U.S. need to learn English, the Spanish version of The Space Place may help initiate their interest in space science and technology by giving them the message that these subjects are for everyone, not just the majority English-speaking groups. Also, the Spanish site may help involve the non-English-speaking parents of these youngsters in their new interest in space.