Making Future Moon Rovers Good Enough to Eat?

Training for that should begin very early, and Smith thinks it's important for kids to explore very different perspectives. So a few years ago he launched his moon project. Today, seven universities on three continents, as well as numerous grade school children, are involved.

Global Moon Chats

The kids observe the moon, and then get together via today's wonderful communications networks, and compare notes. And guess what? The moon doesn't look the same to everyone.

"When you are standing in the Southern Hemisphere, you are standing upside down relative to the Northern Hemisphere so the moon looks different, not that the moon's doing anything different, it's just that it looks different because you are standing upside down," Smith says.

About six weeks ago Smith returned from a trip to Australia and settled into his Internet chat room, open every other Wednesday, to talk with colleagues around the world about the moon. He told them of a new project he was about to launch. Students would be building an edible vehicle.

"At that point, one of the professors here piped up and said, 'It's going to be a vehicle for exploring the moon,'" Smith says.

"I said it wasn't, but it is now."

So that's how the whole thing got started, and today all over the world, kids and college students are creating strange vehicles that are beginning to look a lot like lunch.

They've even named one at Ball State. It's called the "Choo Choo Chew."

Lee Dye's column appears weekly on A former science writer for the Los Angeles Times, he now lives in Juneau, Alaska.

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