We would like to take our class on a trip to Alpha Centauri in order to view the renibuloidal permutations of its zylandrical ring structure up close and personal. Fortunately for us our spacecraft can travel at the speed of light, but it's still going to take us 4.5 years to get there. Planning for a trip like this is a bit more complicated than planning a trip to the beach, so we'd better divide up the responsibility...
Propulsion and Engineering: How are we gonna get there? In addition, it sure would be nice if everything could keep working for the 9 years we'll be gone. We'll need all sorts of skills, as well as some tools. What kinds of systems are important, and what will we need in order to keep them running? How about fuel supplies? Artificial gravity? Windows? Showers? Toilets?
Food, water, and air: What will we eat for 9 years: will there be a decent menu, and will it taste good? If it doesn't, The Authorities (see below) will surely be busy. How about fresh bananas coffee cinnamon rolls? Since food replicators haven't been invented yet, what can we do to maintain sufficient supplies so we don't run out? How about oxygen and water?
Health, safety, and exercise: If we just float around for 9 years our muscles will get weird, so we need to have some way of staying in shape. Also, what if somebody gets sick, has a baby, stubs a toe, or has some other medical emergency? Seems like we'll need some sort of medical facility, with supplies, to keep ourselves functioning at maximum efficiency.
Entertainment: a serious issue, indeed! Nine years without MTV (not to mention the NBA) could get a bit rough, and you can only play Monopoly for so long (especially when the pieces keep floating away). What are we going to do to keep from getting bored on board?
Psychological: No matter how well we plan this, someone is bound to freak out, cop an attitude, and make a scene. What we need is a way to make sure we all keep good attitudes, and don't blow it. It may help to coordinate with the Entertainment and Health groups.
The Authorities: Assuming that the efforts of the Entertainment committee and Psycho Squad are not always 100% effective, how do we deal with the various expressions of social unrest which are bound to crop up from time to time. Who's the judge? What do we do with the Bozo's? What if the judge turns out to be one of the Bozo's? This could be a sticky situation.
Defense: While I'm sure that we would all rather have a quiet trip, there is always the possibility of bumping into the Klingons, or worse. Do we run, try to talk our way out of it, or stick around and try to kick their butts (and if we do, what do we attempt to kick them with)?
This activity is worth 50 points towards your quarter grade. You will be graded as follows: Each group will be required to come up with a plan for their area of concern, and share it with the class during our pre-launch discussions. Each person will be required to turn in a report describing what their group has accomplished. You will be graded on the effort you put into thinking through your aspect of the problem, the quality of your group's findings, and the enthusiasm with which you join into the class discussions. All reports will be due at the end of the class discussions. Your neatly written or typed summary should be no more than 2 pages long.