NASA for Kids: Intro to Engineering

NASA for Kids: Intro to Engineering

What exactly is engineering? Let the folks at NASA tell you.


3 - 12+


Earth Science, Astronomy, Engineering

Anything that is built must first be engineered, or planned out. An engineer is a person who designs and builds complex products, machines, systems, or structures. Engineers want to know how and why things work. They have scientific training that they use to make practical things. Engineers often specialize in a specific branch of engineering. The field of engineering is divided into branches such as civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering. Many types of engineering must be performed to design and build a complicated system such as a spacecraft. For example, a spacecraft has electrical, mechanical, and propulsion systems. All those different systems must be designed before the whole spacecraft can work. The engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers use to guide them as they solve problems. During the design process, engineers:

  • Identify the problem or challenge.
  • Identify design requirements and limitations on the design due to available resources and the environment.
  • Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem or challenge.
  • Generate ideas and develop the most promising ones.
  • Explore possibilities and the pros and cons of each.
  • Select an approach by identifying the design that appears to solve the problem best.
  • Build a model or prototype.
  • Refine the design by identifying changes that need to be made and improving the model or prototype.
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Christina Riska Simmons
Educator Reviewer
Dianne Koval Butler, Manager, Education Outreach & Partnerships, Lockheed Martin Corporate Communications, Lockheed Martin Corporate Communications
Expert Reviewer
Buddy Nelson, Media Relations, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Lockheed Martin
National Geographic Program
Wildest Weather in the Solar System
Page Producer
Jason Wasser
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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