Connect Nuclear Innovation & Space Exploration with the Powering Possibilities VFT On-Demand

The applications of nuclear science are multifaceted! In Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibilities, the new Virtual Field Trip from Navigating Nuclear, students have the opportunity to explore the ways nuclear science is powering innovation here on Earth and investigate some of the ways nuclear technology can be used in space, even for travel between Earth, the Moon and beyond!

In this on-demand virtual experience tailored for elementary school students, educators can help students compare and contrast the use and potential of nuclear energy on the Moon and with other energy sources.

The first chapter introduces students to the concepts of deep space exploration and the possibilities of permanent settlements on the Moon or Mars. Student hosts guide viewers through the history and challenges of space travel, noting some of the specific scientific facts that scientists focused on space travel are trying to overcome.

In the second chapter, students are introduced to Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut, who gives his perspective on the experience of traveling in space and provides students a lesson on how rockets work – and how nuclear science is helping engineers power space travel in more efficient ways. Through engaging visuals, students can begin to understand the benefits of nuclear innovation.

Chapter three of the VFT answers the question “What is Nuclear Science?” Students learn that atoms make up everything around us – and that some of those atoms contain a special kind of energy. This chapter also showcases everyday uses of nuclear technology here on Earth including in medicine, agriculture and disease control.

Kicking off with an introduction to Candace Davison, a nuclear scientist, chapter four gives students a first-hand look at the work of nuclear scientists. Davison explains that failure is a key part of scientific exploration, because it often helps professionals learn more than if they had succeeded on the first try, an important concept in STEM exploration.

In the final chapter, Nuclear Scientist David Poston explains how nuclear power can impact the future of space travel and our ability to learn more about the universe. Innovations in nuclear power will eventually make it possible to bring the types of power necessary for deep space exploration, with us wherever we go. In explaining the way nuclear reactors work, Poston encourages students to consider careers in nuclear science to help continue and expand the innovative thinking and problem-solving that will ultimately make deep space travel and perhaps even colonization successful!

The Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibilities Virtual Field Trip and accompanying educator guide complete with activities to help extend the learning can be found at and in the Discovery Education K-12 Learning Platform on the Navigating Nuclear channel.