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Welcome to Explore!

Launch your programming into Explore-ations of our world and worlds beyond!

This Web site provides hands-on activities and supporting resources such as presentations, recommended books, and Internet resources for librarians and other public program facilitators. We invite you to use these products to engage children and tweens in the wonders of lunar exploration; the planets Earth, Jupiter, and Mars; rockets; staying healthy in space; and more! The materials are free for educational use and designed specifically for the library setting and informal educational venues:

  • The hands-on activities are designed to be easy to do, use readily available materials, and require little preparation time.
  • For many of the activities the children make creations to take home and share with their families. Each topic offers opportunities for families to continue to learn together through reading and web exploration.
  • The topics are designed to be flexible and can be incorporated in any program involving children, including summer sessions, after-school programs, festivals, science days, and family events.
  • Activities vary in length, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours, and often can be modified to fit the time available.
  • Explore provides opportunities for partnering libraries with volunteer groups, local businesses, community programs, and schools.


We recommend that you examine the Explore Web site and select the topics that will interest your patrons. Try one topic at a time. Realize that each topic has background information for you and additional resources that you can share with your patrons. Consider having some of the books and videos on display for your patrons to check out after the event. In addition to the main activities and demonstrations, there are extensions that allow younger and older children to investigate the topic. Consider getting in touch with local planetariums, museums, scientists, or a NASA Solar System Ambassador in your state — ask them to join your events and share their experiences or resources with the children.

Visit our Community Corner for the latest NASA mission news and science related to the online portfolio of Explore topics, information related to current best practices in providing hands-on science programming in out-of-school time settings, spotlights on how Explore activities are being incorporated into library programs across the country, and opportunities and resources related to science programming in libraries. Subscribe to our RSS feed to receive immediate updates, and search past Community Corner entries at the Newsstand. Find upcoming national events — or submit your own local, Explore-based event! — on our Calendar. View a brief tour of these new website features at http://usra.adobeconnect.com/p4oeznjp3mp/

Public library professionals are invited to join our Explore listserv! Follow the link to request access to this restricted list, and you will be invited to provide information about your professional interest in using Explore materials.

Have fun!

About Explore

The Lunar and Planetary Institute's Explore program is designed to engage children in Earth and space science in libraries and other out-of-classroom environments. Library staff across the country are using the activities to bring new audiences into the library. Since its inception 15 years ago, the Explore program has grown to support a community of more than nearly 900 individuals in 35 states — all trained to bring Earth and space science to their children's and youth programs. The program began through a generous grant from the National Science Foundation, and NASA continues to nurture the breadth and depth of Explore materials, resources, and trainings.

Read more about our history, approach, and impacts.

Last updated
December 3, 2013