Here is what you've been waiting for! The first bits of the Live From Mars Teacher's Guide. Below are the Table of Contents. Over the next two weeks, the details will be filled in online at our Web site(http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/teachers/tg).
But for now, at least you can get a sense of what lessons we've decided to include and leave out. LFM Table of Contents Introductory Articles * Project Notes * Letter of welcome from the Project Director and Executive Producer * Video, Online and Print: a Guide to the integrated multimedia components, with specific examples (e.g. Field Journals, etc.) keyed to an overview of the project * Teacher-to-Teacher: Live From Mars as an unique opportunity. How to implement the project over 2 school years, and/or adapt it to local circumstances * NASA's Mars missions timeline, and the Live From Mars implementation timeline (graphic) Suggestions for correlations between fixed mission dates (e.g. launch, landing, etc.), fixed project dates (the live videos) and other project activities Opening Activities: Project Objectives/Program 1 * Activity A-1 -Mars Mission Logbooks: an assessment tool for students and teachers A way for students to record and reflect on their learning experience * Activity A-2 - Constructing a "History of Mars Exploration" timeline - the past is prolog... * Activity A-3 - Become a member of the Live From Mars Mission Team: an introduction to the men and women of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Mars Pathfinder (MPF) project, their roles, and an invitation to students to "imagine" themselves into the project * Activity A-4 - Mission Planning: Earth/Mars Comparisons with a Student Worksheet exploring "Same and Different" features of the two planets * Activity A-5 - Mission Planning: Geology and Areology: My state, nation and Mars Program 1 "COUNTDOWN" Description * Activity 1.1 Rocket Science 101, with Student Worksheets; Experiments with balloon rockets * Activity 1.2 Mapping the Topography of Unknown Surfaces: a simulation of how MGS's laser altimeter will be used to create a global topographic map of Mars * Activity 1.3 Follow the Water -- Investigations with stream tables, with Student Worksheet. Hands-on experiments to explore the processes which led to channels on Mars most likely made by running water Program 2 "CRUISING BETWEEN THE PLANETS" Description * Activity 2.1 Observing Mars in the Night Sky Sidebar: MarsWatch '97, The "Opposition Opportunity" Building a model (out of students) to demonstrate Mars' retrograde motion, and how to enlist local astronomers during the Spring 1997 "opposition" (closest approach of Mars to Earth.) * Activity 2.2 Building Rovers out of Junk Experiments with designs for planetary rovers * Activity 2.3 Reading the Shapes of Volcanoes on Earth and Mars How slope angles can tell us about plate tectonics, and the past history of volcanoes Program 3 "TOUCHDOWN" Description * Activity 3.1 The Incredible Light Bulb-Egg Drop Challenge sidebar: Pathfinder, the Incredible Bouncing Spacecraft Engineering to protect a fragile "Descent Module" * Activity 3.2 Creating Craters, with Student Worksheet Students experiment with mass, velocity and size of impact bodies, to simulate craters seen on Earth, the Moon, and Mars * Activity 3.3 Detecting Magnetic Materials in "Martian Soil" An activity to provide context for one of MPF's experiments Program 4 "WITH PATHFINDER TO MARS" Description A note on how to use this taped program to begin the ongoing project with new students in the new school year: Activities are drawn from Programs 1 - 3. Program 5 "TODAY ON MARS" Description * Activity 5.1 Using Heat Radiation to Characterize a Planet's Surface 5.1.A, B Inside and Outside Lab Worksheets An activity to provide context for one of MGS's experiments, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer * Activity 5.2 "And here's today's weather on Mars... " How to access and use the live weather data that will be coming down from MPF, and the first data from MGS * Activity 5.3 Sun, Shadows, Surface Structure... and the Face on Mars Building and lighting models to show how to interpret novel landforms Wrap-Up Activities * Activity B-1 Been there, Done that... Where Next? Selecting sites for upcoming missions: synthesizing project learning to date, and projecting forward * Activity B-2 The Case for Mars: flags, philosophy, the future... * Activity B-3 Assessing the project, and providing feedback Other useful information * Getting the most out of the Online Components * Multimedia Resources and Recommendations: books, video, CD-ROMs, etc. * Glossary, Vocabulary and Key Concepts * Science Standards and Themes Matrix, correlating Activities to the National Standards, and indicating interdisciplinary connections Co-packaged materials * Student Worksheets * Copy masters of graphics required for the Activities * A note on Assessment, and EDC's pre-paid registration postcard * the Live From Mars poster * MGS and MPF Fact Sheets (NASA) * MPF brochure (NASA)
[Editor's note: Mike teaches near the Kennedy Space Center and he's
very engaged in the Live From Mars project. Recently he accompanied
LFM Executive Director Geoff Haines-Stiles and TV Producer Richard Dowling
on a scouting trip to Kennedy to plan for the upcoming television program]
A TRIP TO SEE THE MARS SPACECRAFT
September 26, 1996 Yesterday, September 25th, I went to the Kennedy Space Center for some special discussions regarding the November 19th Live From Mars telecast. I went to both PHSF where the Mars Global Surveyor is being processed and to SAEF-2 where the Mars Pathfinder is being processed. I was able to stand outside the clean room in the viewing area behind a large pane of glass and see the technicians attaching the last pieces of the thermal blanket to the Mars Global Surveyor. While viewing this spectacular spacecraft, Geoff Haines-Stiles was interviewing (with Sony Camcorder in hand) the project director for the mission. Glen Cunningham is very confident about the integrity of all the flight, communications, and science components on this craft. MGS is a beautiful bronze-gold color, mostly because of the thermal/reflective blanket that covers everything except thrusters, solar panels, scientific remote sensing devices, and antennas. The most prominent features, even folded up and not in position for use, are the two solar panel arrays on either side of the craft. One panel was already permanently installed on one side of the craft; on the other side the last thermal blanket attachments were being done. The second solar array attachment will mark the final component to be attached and final preparations of the spacecraft for launch and flight will begin. These solar arrays look like black venetian blinds. I looked for a cord on either side to pull and get the "blinds" to fold together so I could get a look inside. A look at the other side soon revealed to me the futility of this daydream; underneath, everything has already been covered with the protective coating of the thermal/reflective blanket. The second most prominent feature was the high-gain parabolic antenna for microwave transmission. This antenna is roughly half the size of the solar panels in their folded up launch configuration. Inside the PHSF, a huge round contraption that look like a giant floor fan stood next to the this end of the spacecraft near the parabolic antenna. This huge bass drum-like contraption is placed over the parabolic antenna and the scientists can power up the antenna and make it fully functional inside the building. Apparently, anyone in the stream of microwaves emitted from this antenna would be shriveled up like a hot-dog cooked on high in the microwave for 3 minutes (try it! even the sounds this makes should add to a full appreciation of the need for this giant microwave absorbing "drum"). The third most prominent feature is a small white tube (looks like PVC!) that contains a helical antenna for radio signal to be used by amateur radio clubs here on Earth. The many thrusters are easily seen, but other science instruments are well tucked away at this point. It is beautiful. A very real concern about this mission is the use of "aerobraking" to slowly drop down into the atmosphere of Mars. In the past the method of reducing altitude was by brute force, slowing the spacecraft's forward velocity with reverse firings of thrusters. The Mars Global Surveyor Team has tried to save weight (which we know is all critical to launch considerations and cost) by eliminating the need for the extra fuel, rocket motors, fuel lines, etc. to do this brute force maneuver. Instead, they intend to use the spacecraft's non-aerodynamic shape to create friction in the atmosphere of Mars and have the interaction between the spacecraft and the Martian "air" to slow the craft down very, very slowly and over a very long period of time (at least 130 days of slowing down!!!). When the Mars Global Surveyor makes its maneuver to insert itself into an orbit around Mars it will be high above the Martian atmosphere and one orbit of Mars will take 48 hours. After the "aerobraking" maneuver has been successful the spacecraft will orbit Mars every 90 minutes. Keep in mind that all other maneuvers are quick short, even momentary, activities and this is a 130 day constant activity. Once in the 90-minute orbit, complete 100% mapping of Mars will occur every seven days!!! What are some concerns about this "aerobraking"? No one knows where the uppermost portion of the Mars atmosphere actually begins. In fact, the threshold between a Martian atmosphere and space may not be static - it may vary widely from season to season and year to year. No one knows what atmospheric pressure will be encounter at the upper- and mid-ranges of the Martian atmosphere. This entire maneuver depends on the Martian "air", precisely one of the characteristics of Mars about which very little is known. The closest I got to the Pathfinder/Sojourner was to stand outside SAEF-2 where it is currently being processed. However, I met John Spear, the project director of Mars Pathfinder. I watched a team of about eight bunny-suit clad workers busily working on the spacecraft via a video feed into his office. Again, John is very confident about this mission. His greatest concerns have been to constantly solve problems of fitting everything into this tiny spacecraft. This is clearly an engineering marvel! The "clover leaves" were drawn together when I saw my view of the craft. But, Geoff Haines-Stiles and Richard Dowling entered the clean room area on Tuesday, September 24th and witnessed this spacecraft from mere inches away with the "clover leaves" open and the entire inside of the craft in full view. I will add that in a folded up position as I saw it, I thought the craft looked like a giant dinosaur egg. It is white on the outside and is about the size of a typical kitchen stove. Well, I need to set off to work for now. There is much more I can report on and I will when I get the chance. Mike
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