1. Complete Teacher Demo as described above.
2. Allow time for each Mars Mission Team to design an experiment
that tests 3 different methods of separating magnetic substances
from the four samples of Martian soil. Each experimental design
should include the following:
statement of purpose, hypothesis, materials list, procedure,
record of observations, and conclusion.
3. All teams complete their experiments, recording data and preparing
a lab report. Individual teams report findings and results to class.
Younger students might follow the sample
procedure outlined below:
a. Prepare a soil sample that contains a known amount of magnetic
b. Try various collection methods and weigh the amount of magnetic
material collected with each method.
c. Calculate the efficiency of each method; i.e., the weight collected
divided by the weight originally present. Does each collection method
approach 100% efficiency? Examine the separated magnetic substance
with a hand lens. Was any white non-magnetic sand collected with
the dark magnetic material? Why?
d. Repeat the experiment a few times. How reproducible are your
results? How accurate are they?
e. Are your results consistent for each soil sample?
f. Did your experiment support your original hypothesis? What are
Find out more about how Pathfinder actually assesses the magnetic
properties of true Martian soils. (Hint: no baggies are involved!)
Look on-line. Send questions to Researcher Q&A and post replies
on your Bulletin Board.
Research the Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer. How does it work?
What data will it send back to scientists on Earth? Why is this
data important and how will it be used? What will the Alpha Proton
X-ray Spectrometer not be able to do?
If you became a member of the "Planet X Mission" Planning Team,
what requirements would you put on a soil sampling device? Record
your ideas in your Mars Mission Logbook.
You are the Chief Scientist in the lab that will be investigating
samples returned from Mars in 2003 (or thereabouts.) Write a detailed
Laboratory Procedure that provides guidelines for the non-contamination
of the returning samples by terrestrial material--and vice versa,
keeping Earth safe from Mars!
How Pathfinder's rover got its name:|
The name Sojourner was chosen for the Mars Pathfinder rover after
a year-long, worldwide competition in which students up to 18 years
old were invited to select a heroine and submit an essay about her
historical accomplishments. The students were asked to address in
their essays how a planetary rover named for their heroine would
translate these accomplishments to the Martian environment.
...Valerie Ambroise, 12, of Bridgeport, CT, submitted the winning
essay about Sojourner Truth, an African-American reformist who lived
during the Civil War era. An abolitionist and champion of women's
rights, Sojourner Truth, whose legal name was Isabella Van Wagener,
made it her mission to "travel up and down the land," advocating
the rights of all people to be free and the rights of women to participate
fully in society. The name Sojourner was selected because it means
JPL scientists and engineers working on the Mars Pathfinder project
and Planetary Society staff members reviewed the 3,500 total entries
received from all over the world, including essays from students
living in Canada, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Poland and Russia.
Nearly 1,700 of the essays were submitted by students aged 5 to
18 years old.