Explore Our Nearest Space Neighbor

When you look up into the sky on a clear night, you may not be able to see many stars, but on most nights, you will be able to see the moon. At one quarter of a million miles away, The Moon is the closest object to the Earth in space. How do the Earth and the moon affect each other? Have humans ever traveled to the moon? Could we ever live on the moon? Between December 15 and January 5, keep your eyes on the sky above as part of the Winter Learning Challenge for kids.


  • Have you ever wondered why the moon looks different each night? The moon does not actually change its shape, but what we can see changes based on its position between the Earth and the Sun. Try this simple Moon Phases Experiment with a flashlight, a styrofoam ball and a dark room to understand the changes that happen over the 28 days the moon orbits the Earth.
  • Use this Moon Phases Calendar to track the phases of the moon during the Winter Learning Challenge.
  • Keep a moon diary, even when the moon is new, to discover what the moon looks like and where it is at any time, day or night.
  • Look at the moon through a pair of binoculars or a telescope. The moon's surface is covered with craters from asteroids that are constantly hitting it. Simulate an asteroid impacting the moon with rocks and household baking products.
  • Apollo 11 was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon, but there were many missions that had to take place before man could walk on the surface of the moon. How did we get to the moon?
  • If you lived on the moon, you wouldn’t be able to breathe outside of a space suit. Engineer a space tool you could use to help you breathe on the moon with this Curiosity Machine challenge.


  • Build a light and sturdy habitat to support human life on the moon with help from NASA.
  • Make your own model of a cratered moon using flour and paint.
  • Ancient cultures, including Native Americans, have given the full moon names related to the month it appears in. The next full moon will appear January 5. What would you name it? Write a poem or story about your moon’s name.
  • The surface of the moon is covered with rocks and rock dust. What would it feel like? Experiment with different types of “moon sand” to create one that you think might be on the moon.