Data plays a huge role in almost every scientific area of study, in today's world more than ever, because we now have massive amounts of data that is often publicly available.

This Microsoft Learn module is the first of a series that highlights the kinds of scientific discovery and data that NASA uses throughout their space exploration. From how to leave our atmosphere safely to which rocks astronauts collect when walking on the Moon, data plays a role every step of the way.

Furthermore, learning how to explore and understand the massive amounts of data that's collected and analyzed can be made easier with the right technology. For example, by using free tools and programming languages such as Visual Studio Code and Python, you can start to discover more about the universe our planet is floating in, and how it impacts your everyday life.

Although this data exploration journey is one that can be lifelong, this first learning path will give you the basic tools to get started and this module will provide the context for why these problems are interesting in the first place.

Learning objectives

In this module, you'll scratch the surface (pun intended) of how to start the data exploration. You'll learn:

  • What a programming language is
  • About the benefits of the Visual Studio Code editor
  • How to install Visual Studio Code
  • How to install extensions to enhance the Visual Studio Code experience
  • About Python and why it is such a popular programming language
  • How to install Python
  • How to run a basic Jupyter Notebook within Visual Studio Code


  • A Windows, Mac, or Linux computer
  • Knowledge of how to download programs from the Internet