This article was originally published on the Moonshot Museum Blog. Photo Credit: Moonshot Museum.

Simulated lunar mission activities were designed to test Museum exhibitions ahead of construction beginning in 2022.

7th grade students from Propel McKeesport take part in Moonshot Museum prototyping in November 2021.

When Moonshot Museum opens in 2022, students from across the Pittsburgh region will have the opportunity to get an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the 21st century space industry through a wall of windows into the Clean Room assembly area at Astrobotic. They’ll also embark on simulated lunar missions—the first of which, “Lunar Settlers,” will challenge middle and high school students to successfully establish the first permanent human settlement on the lunar surface. Lunar mission experiences are designed to layer onto Moonshot Museum’s core gallery space, creating a living lab that will completely change from visit to visit, all against the backdrop of the real-time work of the contemporary space industry.

Propel McKeesport students work to create a well-designed lunar rover during prototyping for Moonshot Museum.

Moonshot Museum and its creative partners at Luci Creative and Richard Lewis Media Group developed a prototype experience for students, allowing the Museum to test mission activities, timing, and engagement ahead of beginning construction in 2022. This intentional prototyping was designed to identify strengths and weaknesses of the planned mission experience and gather real-time feedback from local students. Over the course of two days in November 2021, more than 60 6th-8th grade students and teachers from Propel McKeesport and Franklin Regional Middle School participated in these hands-on activities in spaces provided by partners at Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Franklin Regional Middle School students collaborate to create mission patches and design elements for their lunar settlement during prototyping for Moonshot Museum.

The takeaway? “Lunar Settlers” is a successful mission! The mission activities were student-approved, and Moonshot Museum ended the sessions with a series of valuable takeaways on how to build an even more out-of-this-world Museum experience.

While data continues to roll in, some valuable takeaways included:

Luci Creative is partnering with the Moonshot Museum on Concept Design, Schematic Design, and Design Development for Pennsylvania’s first museum to be focused exclusively on space exploration.