This material was developed for the Live From Mars project
by Passport to Knowledge. Live
From Mars was a precursor to Mars Team Online.
Activity B.2 "Where Next?"
Share with your students this July 1996 press clip:
NASA Seeks Proposals for Mars Landing Sites
NASA's Office of Space Science plans to award this autumn as many
as 15 grants of up to $20,000 per year for two years to university,
industry and government groups that propose the most scientifically
promising landing sites for the agency's Mars Surveyor Program ...which
is intended to search for life and water sources on the red planet
and increase understanding of the planet's volatile climate and history
...the grants are available for those missions to be launched after
2000. The studies NASA officials select will provide detailed geological
maps of proposed landing sites, exploration strategy, the types of
scientific data they expect to find at the site, and will include
a description of rover or land transport required...
Space News, July 1-7, 1996
Passport to Knowledge is not suggesting that student teams compete with
career scientists to propose fully detailed and budgeted plans for NASA's
actual missions to Mars in the 21st. Century-- but we do suggest that
an exciting Closing Activity, drawing on all dimensions of the Live From
Mars Module, would be to invite students, working in teams, to research
and write-up their suggested landing sites, scientific rationales and
type of spacecraft for the "Next" Mars missions.
Note to teachers: this Activity also provides an extremely powerful
way to assess the new learning which students will have gained from participation
in the Module. Best done in Fall 1997, after what we hope will be Pathfinder's
safe landing and successful primary mission, it's also possible to undertake
the Activity at the end of the 1996-1997 school year: as indicated by
the news clip quoted above, NASA's actual invitation went out in Fall
'96, before MPF or MGS were even launched!
PTK invites students to participate in two different ways, in two different
| Print Only
If your class and school still lacks on-line access, have students
research references in books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines,
and CD-ROM's. Use the materials in this Guide and in the LFM videos
as resources. Encourage students to make formal reports, with carefully
thought-out rationales, compelling language, and, if possible, a
budget generally comparable to those for MGS and MPF, scaled upward
to reflect increasing size of rover, etc. After sharing your students'
work with parents and others, please be sure to send some of the
more interesting proposals to PTK (keep copies for yourself) In
an era of "Net Days" and other special incentives from phone companies
and others, consider ways to get on-line, then your students can
take advantage of "peer review" (kids commenting from across America
and around the world) and direct interaction with expert mentors.
| With Internet Access
Just as Live From Mars began with an on-line collaborative activity,
PTK will host an on-line discussion forum debate-lfm where students
can interact with Mars experts to brainstorm, research and refine
their missions plans. PTK will invite experienced Mars researchers
to serve as on-line mentors: they'll make suggestions, and provide
references. They'll respond to student input and point out the pro's
and con's of sites and strategies. PTK will also provide links which
include some of the actual sites proposed by career scientists to
NASA, but we will encourage students to evaluate and debate the
real proposals and make their own. Since this activity can only
be done on-line, we will provide more information about it in late
Spring 1997, after the second LFM program, which airs April 24th.