Engineering & Design Challenges

Scientists use a wide range of technologies, tools, and techniques to study impact craters. Challenge yourself to invent or create an original product or scientific mission!

Challenge One: Design a New Type of Tool or Technology

Most inventions are the result of need. Others are the result of the creative ability to put thoughts and ideas into constructing something tangible. Scientists use cutting-edge technology to advance their knowledge and research in all areas of science. What new tool or technology could you imagine that would help scientists studying impact craters?

Consider the following:

  • What current methods or technology are being used to study impact craters?
  • What drawbacks (if any) do these methods or technologies have?
  • What is your solution for improving current methods or technology? (Is it a new idea or a modification of current methods or technology?) 
  • How would your invention or design be better? 
  • Would it be robotic? Use remote sensing? How would it work?
  • What specific task(s) would your design or invention be used for?
  • What would it look like and what would it be made of?

Euler Crater
Euler Crater, on the Moon.
Photo: NASA

Challenge Two: Design a Mission to Explore a Specific Impact Crater

Why do we care about impact craters? What can they tell us about a planetary body? (Age of surface, what’s underneath the surface, morphology as it relates to properties of the surface, etc?) Use the Crater Timemap, Google Earth, Google Moon, or Google Mars to locate a specific crater and propose a reason for conducting research there.

Consider the following:

  • A description of the merits of the research: Why study impact craters?
  • Why study the crater you’ve chosen? What can we learn from it?
  • Specify the focus of the study: age of the crater, geology, morphology (simple or complex)?
  • How would the study be conducted? What technology would you use or need? 
  • How would the results of your study help scientists investigating impact craters?