DIGS on the Moon

“Houston, We Have a Problem!”

“Houston we have a problem. Captain Carter is missing.” Captain Carter was the leader of NASA’s latest moon expedition.  Everything had been perfect until this moment. The lunar shuttle had to take off from the moon within the next ten minutes to safely leave for the Earth.  The astronauts knew that if they left, Captain Carter would surely die.  But knowing there was no choice, NASA’s Command Central in Houston ordered them to leave immediately.

Well, this is what had happened.  Captain Carter was on a moonwalk when he found some alien-looking goop in a cave at the bottom of the crater.  He searched deeper and deeper, but his foot suddenly slipped and he fell into a crevasse.   During the fall, his transmitter broke and he could not contact the other astronauts.

NASA Plans a Rescue Mission

But NASA was not planning to abandon Captain Carter. They knew that he was running out of time. While he had enough oxygen to last for about ten days and a few food bars and water to keep him going, he was facing a far bigger danger.

Within five Earth days, the lunar night was about to begin. The temperature of the lunar night can go down to as low as -300 degrees Fahrenheit, close to the temperature where oxygen converts from gas to liquid. That is really cold. They needed to find Captain Carter quickly.

The Administrator of NASA, Dr. Devon Shire, called the President to discuss the situation.   The President asked, “Do we have a second shuttle ready? We need to send a rescue team immediately.”

Dr. Shire said, “But, Mr. President, even if we do, we cannot locate Captain Carter because his transmitter is broken, how do we find him?”

The President thought deeply. He asked, “Does he have any device that we can track to find him?”

Dr. Shire said, “He has an ultrasonic sonar that emits a frequency of 30,000 Hz, beyond the range of what any of us could hear.”

The President said, “Well, then let us mobilize DIGS!”

DIGS to the Rescue!

You will remember from the “The Sushi Surprise”, the secret crime fighting organization of dogs called DIGS. Dogs can easily hear sound at frequencies that humans cannot hear. Besides that, these DIGS dogs are really, really smart.

Dr. Shire contacted DIGS without delay.  DIGS leader, Commander Sushi got ready to head out on the mission. In less than an hour, Sushi was on board an F-16 fighter jet, flying at supersonic speed to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The shuttle was ready to depart when he arrived.

“Bark, bark!” said Commander Sushi in an animated voice as they strapped him to the seat in the shuttle cockpit.  Next to him was Captain Chris, leader of the rescue mission.

Little Sushi couldn’t help it, he was really excited – he was going to fly to the moon!  At the same time, he knew that he had an important, serious mission to accomplish. So he got mentally ready for the 3-day trip that would make him the first dog explorer on the moon.

The engines roared, as the countdown finished, 3, 2, 1 … Blast off! The rocket climbed away, a fiery sight in the moonlit night.

To Be ContinueDIGS On the Moon-Imaged … To Find Out What Happens When Sushi and Captain Chris Arrive At the Moon … Stay Tuned For Part II of DIGS on the Moon!

Don’t Forget to Check out the Vocab Words (below), Fun Facts and Exciting Activity and this Story!







A journey (usually by a group of people) for a specific purpose.


An adjective that means of or about the moon, e.g. lunar eclipse, lunar module, lunar day etc.


A vehicle that travels back and forth between places. A shuttle could be a bus, car, train, plane, boat and, yes, a spaceship too.


Without any delay


A depression on the ground formed by the impact of an object such as a meteorite.  A crater is also the bowl-shaped depression that is formed at the mouth of a volcano. Have you ever looked up and noticed all the pockmarks on the face of the moon? Check out this story’s fun facts to learn more about why the moon has so many craters compared to the earth.


A long and deep narrow opening that usually forms at places where the land cracks apart.


An instrument that can send out and receive sound waves and/or video signals, because of which they are useful for communication.


Leave behind without intent to go back to or rescue.


A type of gas that forms the atmosphere of the Earth – all living things need oxygen to survive.


A unit of measuring temperature. On the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.


To talk about in detail


A situation where something happens later than it should


At a frequency greater than 20,000 Hertz, above the range humans can hear.


Traveling faster than the speed at which sound waves travel.


How quickly something oscillates or vibrates. For example, the strings of a cello (think of a very large violin that you have to put on the ground to play) vibrate at a much lower frequency than that of a violin.  That is why a cello makes much deeper sounds, while a violin makes higher pitch sounds. In science, there are many ways in which the concept of frequency is used, so watch out for that word in the next few years at school!


A device that is used to measure the distance to an object. A sonar sends out a sound signal (a ping) and measures the amount of time it takes to come back after it reflects from the object. The longer it takes, the further out the object actually is. Bats can’t see, but use a sonar system to expertly avoid obstructions ahead of them. Ships use sonars to tell how far they are from the bottom of the sea.


To come together for action, get things moving.


The area in a plane or spacecraft where the pilot sits.  Typically the cockpit is close to the tip of the plane or spacecraft.


The act of counting down the number of seconds that remain before something happens.  In this case, the countdown tells the remaining seconds to the launch of the lunar shuttle.

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