Space Hazards: Vocabulary

Engineer Someone who uses creativity and knowledge of math and science to design things that solve problems.
Engineering Design Process The steps that engineers use to design something to solve a problem.
Technology Any thing designed by humans to help solve a problem.
Dust A mixture of different ingredients, such as grains of sand, dead skin cells, tiny hairs and threads, animal dander, pollen, human-made pollutants, dust mites, and even minerals from outer space.
Hazard A source of danger.
Materials Engineer A person who uses creativity and knowledge of science and math to solve problems related to materials and their specific properties.
Space Debris Scattered natural and human-made debris, such as broken bits of meteorites, old satellites, and pieces of spacecraft.
Temperature A measurement of how hot or cold something is.
Insulator A material that does not allow heat to move through it quickly.
Impact The act of one thing hitting another.
Dust Resistant A quality or treatment of a material that prevents dust from sticking to it.
Simulation An imitation of a real situation or process for the purpose of learning.
Improve (in engineering) To make better than the first build. Examples from this activity include easier to move, holds together better, or better at protecting
Communicate (in engineering) To share information, data, or ideas. It's important to communicate as engineers so that our designs can be improved. It's important to communicate as scientists so our data and ideas can be used to discover new things.
International Space Station A habitable spacecraft in low Earth orbit where astronauts from all over the world live and conduct science and engineering experiments.
Planetary Science The study of planets, moons, asteroids, and other objects in the solar system.
Rover A vehicle sent to another planet or moon to explore by sending pictures and data back to Earth.
Toxic Soil Dirt and rock that is dangerous to breathe, eat, or grow plants in.
Hazard A danger. In this activity, an extreme event that occurs naturally and can cause harm to humans.
Health and Safety Officer A person who makes sure everyone has a safe working environment.
Mitigate To make less severe, serious, or painful.
Asteroid A rock orbiting the Sun that’s too small to be a dwarf planet and does not have a tail of gas and dust like a comet. The size of asteroids ranges from 1,000 km to dust particles.
Blizzard A heavy snowstorm with high winds.
Climate The aggregate of weather conditions prevailing in a particular area, or globally,
over a long period of time (decades, centuries, or thousands of years).
Climate Change The changing conditions of all of Earth’s atmosphere mostly caused by rising amounts of greenhouse gases.
Drought A long time of unusually low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.
Dust Storm A strong wind storm that carries a lot of dust into the air.
Earthquake Ground shaking in the Earth’s surface caused by a sudden shock. Earthquakes are primarily caused by movements in Earth’s tectonic plates.
Filter A material or device that removes things you don’t want to be there from a liquid or gas.
Fire Suppression An engineered system that puts out fires.
Flood An overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry, often caused by extreme weather events such as heavy rain, hurricanes, or melting snow. Floodwaters can be partially controlled by placing sandbags to protect buildings and roadways.
Gravity The force that attracts two bodies toward each other. The more massive the body, the stronger its gravity.
Greenhouse Gases Gases that trap heat by letting sunlight into the atmosphere, but not letting heat out of the atmosphere.
Hurricane A large, strong storm with very strong winds and lots of rain.
Impact An explosion caused by an asteroid or comet crashing into the surface of a planet. When a planet has an atmosphere, smaller objects burn up before reaching the ground. Larger objects may explode in midair or create a small crater, causing damage locally. Very large objects are less common but their impacts can devastate an entire region or even the whole planet.
Landslide A large movement of rocks and dirt down a slope.
Planetary Body Any body in the solar system (not a star) that has a planet-like structure. For example, a planet, dwarf planet, moon, or asteroid.
Tornado A very quickly spinning column of air with extremely high winds.
Training Teaching a person a skill or type of behavior.
Tsunami A large, fast-moving sea wave. Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, or asteroid impacts.
Weather The state of the atmosphere at a certain place and a certain short time period (minutes to hours to days) with respect to its temperature, humidity, cloud cover, wind, or precipitation.
Wildfire An uncontrolled fire of plants and trees in a rural area. Wildfires can burn down houses, farms, and other buildings if they are not controlled.
Drone An aircraft or vehicle that does not have a pilot. They’re usually controlled with a remote control. Also called unoccupied aerial systems or UAS.
Gravity The force that attracts objects toward the center of the Earth, or towards any other object with mass (such as a planet, moon, or asteroid).
Insulation Materials that prevent heat from moving across them. A jacket is insulation that prevents heat from leaving the body; a refrigerator has insulation that prevents heat from getting into the cold interior.
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The U.S. Government’s organization for space exploration and planetary science research.
Radiation Energy that moves from one place to another in the form of waves (like radio waves or visible light) or subatomic particles. Some radiation is bad even in small amounts like gamma rays. Some can hurt you if you are exposed for a long time, like ultraviolet rays (which is what causes sunburn).  Some radiation is beneficial like when we use a microwave to heat food or radio waves to listen to music in the car.
Regolith Broken up rocks, like sand or gravel, on top of bedrock. Regolith is often found on the surface of planets or moons that have little or no atmosphere. Sometimes called soil on other planets or moons.
Shielding A material that protects the inside from danger. Shields can protect against things like small impacts, radiation, and dust.
Spacecraft A vehicle designed to travel in space.
Apollo Missions The Apollo Program was a series of space missions designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. It was mostly active from the 1960s – 1970s. We’re still analyzing data and samples from the Apollo missions!