Cohorts of young explorers, researchers, artists, and builders of the Galactic Explorations Pursuit successfully completed a grand mission—over the course of 6 weeks they dived deep into learning about space exploration, learned new skills (everything from 3D modeling to astronomy research!), and collaborated in teams to design a habitable exoplanet.
Each team pooled their ideas together to strategize how to send a pair of astronauts beyond our Moon. From architect, to engineer, to communications specialist, to researcher, each team member had their own roles and responsibilities and used their unique talents to help each other learn and conquer challenges. They then pitched their ideas to potential investors and presented final projects of their choice at the mission finale. (Check out an example in their Journals here!)
A few Galactic explorers reflected here on their experience and are thrilled to share what they’ve built with their teams:
Josh (12), Team Celeste's Communications Specialist
Being able to do this for Pursuits really inspired me to build for a reason rather than just building for fun.
"I really enjoy building large builds like this in Minecraft. Being able to do this for Pursuits really inspired me to build for a reason rather than just building for fun. Nishant really helped me out a lot by creating the floor plan that I built from. He made a really easy to understand and straightforward floor plan. After I saw it, I knew exactly what I was going to build right away. The main challenge for this build is I didn't use anything like World Painter so each block is hand placed. The terraforming was the biggest challenge because it needed to make sure the viewer felt like they were on another planet and couldn't see grass or anything. I'm really proud of it because of the time and effort I put into it. It also came out really great and cinematic in my opinion. My favorite part of this build is the greenhouse dome in the back. I love the way the light rays shine through the glass." - Josh
Julianna (12), Team Celeste's Chief Architect
Overall, I am quite proud as I feel a lot of hard work and passion went into it and I think it explained our whole mission quite well.
“For my guidebook, I wanted to create something clear and thorough. I wanted it to be simple and easy to understand, and hopefully be educational and packed full of helpful nits of information about our laws, what will be expected, our democracy, etc. I wanted the format to be purple, kind of representing our mission badge and the whole space vibe. The illustration on the front was something I created for our investor pitch. We wanted to use a specific color palette for the whole thing, so I used those colors to make a psychedelic background, and I found a few images to use as inspiration for the rocket. The whole thing didn’t require much help from anyone, except for recapping on some things we decided on as a team, such as our laws and democracy. The whole thing had a few challenges, like thinking of things to put into the guidebook. Overall, I am quite proud as I feel a lot of hard work and passion went into it and I think it explained our whole mission quite well.” - Julianna
(Find her entire guidebook here!)
Kevin (11), Team Galactic's Chief Architect
Our solution was the air filtration system, which filters the sulfur out of the air and makes the air breathable.
"This is the overall map plan of the TRAPPIST-1f base of our Galactic Explorations team, Team Galactic. Due to the abundance of water on our planet, we chose to source our power from a green energy hydroelectric dam. TRAPPIST-1f's atmosphere also has a high sulfur content, which basically means if it isn't filtered, the air will smell like rotten eggs. Our solution was the air filtration system, which filters the sulfur out of the air and makes the air breathable. The greenhouse dome supplies food for the astronauts and gives additional fresh oxygen. The habitat dome is the main living area of the astronauts and is the place where they live and work." - Kevin
Conor (12), Team Galaxy's Engineer
I chose this project because I spent a lot of time and effort to create it.
"I chose this project because I spent a lot of time and effort to create it. I did this pretty much on my own on a week when my team was supposed to make a model of a habitable city on an exoplanet. I made it in modded Minecraft Java edition. I made the video and did the voiceover to present the city to investors. I think the model and the video really look great." - Conor (Check out the full video walkthrough here!)
Damian (12), Team Solar's Researcher
The submarine uses hydroelectric turbines to conserve energy.
"The top hatch is to exit above water, and contains a charging port. The bottom hatch is for exiting underwater. The submarine uses hydroelectric turbines to conserve energy. It has a sonar that shows simulation of terrains so you can find the way out of caves, trenches, etc. The submarine is electric. The battery in the front powers the lights while the battery in the back powers the turbine." - Damian
Britton (13), Team Asteria's Strategist
I created this map for the purpose of demonstrating where everything should be laid out from drone paths to research points...In order for the astronauts to know where and why their equipment and studies should be, there had to be at least some sort of map.
"I created this map for the purpose of demonstrating where everything should be laid out from drone paths to research points. Before this there had been no set map, which I realized was a problem. In order for the astronauts to know where and why their equipment and studies should be, there had to be at least some sort of map. Since no close-up photos have ever been taken, I chose a sort of generic zone TRAPPIST-1f could include in order to lay out points of interest. I created both an SVG and PNG file for high and low definition using Scratch's vector editor. I used an official NASA diagram video as reference and chose my location. It turned out a lot better than I expected it to be, especially considering I made it in only about an hour." - Britton (Check out the full video here!)
Shivali (10), Team Galactic's Commander
I am proud of this presentation because of the research and problem solving that I and my teammate did.
"I used Google Slides to create this presentation, because it provides many helpful tools and I am very familiar with it. We chose TRAPPIST-1f, an exoplanet as our target for exploration. My team researched about potential habitats on other planets. We used Dr. McAuliffe's Guide to Moons and Exoplanets and Google to research more about our exoplanet. We brainstormed on how we wanted our habitat to function. I used Google to find images for the slide. My teammate helped me with it, giving me critical feedback on how to improve. One of the challenges that we faced was how to grow food, since the atmosphere had high sulfur content. We came up with a greenhouse solution. I am proud of this presentation because of the research and problem solving that I and my teammate did." - Shivali
Discover what your kid is capable of creating by signing up for the next cohort of the Galactic Explorations Pursuit: primer.com/galactic-explorations
P.S. We're also hiring! If you want to help shape kids' learning journeys check out our open roles.