Can you use π (pi) to solve these stellar math problems faced by NASA scientists and engineers?

The "Pi in the sky" challenge was created by the Education Office of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and is now in its fifth year. To show students how pi is used at NASA and give them a chance to do the very same math, the JPL once again put together a Pi Day challenge featuring real-world math problems used for space exploration. This year's challenge includes exploring the interior of Mars, finding missing helium in the clouds of Jupiter, searching for Earth-size exoplanets and uncovering the mysteries of an asteroid from outside our solar system.

Pi is a number whose digits go on forever, but the approximation 3.14 (hence March 14 or 3/14) is often precise enough. It is a mathematical constant often denoted by the symbol π. Pi comes in handy when determining the circumference or the surface area of a round celestial body. It also helps engineers and scientists program the precise orbits of satellites and spacecraft such as the impressive spirals the Cassini spacecraft performed before its ''death dive.''

Ota Lutz, a senior education specialist at JPL, believes everyone should attempt the Pi Day Challenge, even if they aren't familiar with these math tools. Students in grades 5 through 12 are especially invited to participate, and JPL offers resources for educators who want to use the math problems in their classrooms.

"All of the problems in the 'Pi in the sky' challenge are real problems that JPL scientists and engineers love using pi," Lutz said in a statement.

Solutions to the illustrated questions will be posted on March 15, according to NASA.