Have Some Pi Today, With Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Published on Mar 14, 2022

Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been led NASA’s ninth annual Pi Day Challenge which hits a high note today — March 14 is National Pi Day — and concludes on Tuesday.

It’s not a typo of course – Pi (π) is that almost magical number that starts in 3.1415926535 and has been used by mathematicians for almost 4,000 years.

Used throughout the STEM world – especially for space exploration – pi, often written as π, is the number that results from dividing the circumference of any circle by its diameter. Pi can be and often is rounded to 3.14, which is why 3/14 (March 14) has been designated National Pi Day.

The 2022 challenge features all-new illustrated math problems that get students using pi like NASA scientists and engineers exploring Earth, the Moon, Mars, and planets beyond the solar system. Answers will be announced on Tuesday.

“Pi Day gives us a reason to celebrate the mathematical wonder that helps NASA explore the universe, and we’re giving students a chance to join in the fun by using Pi to explore Earth and space themselves,” a JPL statement said.

The 2022 Pi Day Challenge, titled “Pi in the Sky 9,” includes four brain-busters where students will need to use pi to measure frost deep within craters on the Moon, estimate the density of Mars’ core, calculate the water output from a dam to assess its potential environmental impact, and find how far a planet-hunting satellite needs to travel to send data back to Earth.

The four problems in the Challenge are called Lunar Logic, Core Conundrum, Dam Deduction, and Telescope Tango, JPL said on the Pi Day Challenge website, www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/nasapidaychallenge. The site includes many more suggestions, downloads, lessons and articles that will be useful for both students and teachers, as well as parents, museums, science centers and planetariums, and at least 10 specific suggestions on how to celebrate National Pi Day.

For more about the 2022 Pi Day Challenge, visit www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/events/2022/2/2/celebrate-pi-day-with-nasa.