PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, supported in part by NASA, NSF and public
television, is planning two electronic field trips for the 1996-1997
school year, LIVE FROM MARS and LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2.
As with all previous PASSPORT Modules, each "electronic field trip"
will offer a fully-integrated combination of:
- live, interactive, one-hour television specials, including pre-
taped documentary and graphics segments of high production values;
- a user-friendly Teacher's Guide suggesting hands-on activities,
ways to adapt materials targeted at middle school science to
elementary and high school grades, and interdisciplinary extensions
to mathematics, social studies and language classes, and
- online resources freely accessible over the Internet, including
simple text-based e-mail as well as using the graphic capabilities
of the World Wide Web. (see:
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/livefrom/hst.html for an example of PTK's
most recent online materials.)
In 1996, NASA plans to launch 2 missions to Mars. With PASSPORT
TO KNOWLEDGE, teachers and students can also travel to the Red
Mars is a fascinating planet, perhaps the most interesting and
mysterious in our solar system:
Was Mars once wetter and warmer? Did rivers flow, and even
oceans exist? Did life originate here? Is there possibly life
today, hidden down deep in the protected permafrost? Can
future missions find and return fossils of any past life to
Earth? When and how will humans venture here? What lessons
can we learn by comparing Mars with Earth?
In collaboration with NASA's Mars Exploration Directorate at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, PASSPORT TO
KNOWLEDGE is planning 2 live programs for the 1996-97 school year
-- from Florida's Cape Canaveral before launch (Nov. 96) and from
NASA/JPL during the cruise phase of the mission (April 97), where
students will meet the men and women who fly the spacecraft.
Primetime specials for home or science center viewing are targeted
for July 4 and 5, 1997, and are designed to celebrate the landing of
the Pathfinder spacecraft and its Sojourner micro-rover. Two wrap-
up programs in October and November 1997, will incorporate images
literally "live from Mars", and tell the story of Sojourner's travels,
and the latest discoveries about Martian climate and geology.
Through our collaboration with NASA, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE has
unprecedented access to one of the most exciting exploratory
missions in many years.
And in addition to alluring images from the Viking and Mariner
missions, we'll explore the enduring place of Mars in the human
imagination, from H.G. Wells' WAR OF THE WORLDS to Perceval
Lowell's ideas about a grand civilization with planet-wide canal
systems, to more current science fiction films and literature. As
part of the project, students will be exposed to the latest research
on robotics, rocketry and spacecraft design.
LIVE FROM MARS has a great subject, exciting locations, proven
educational materials, state-of-the-art online opportunities -- all
in all, we think it will be one of the most popular PASSPORT TO
KNOWLEDGE projects to date, with equal appeal to elementary,
middle and high school students.
DATES AND TIMES, AND CONTENT SUMMARIES:
Current dates and times for the live programs are as follows, but all
viewers should "check local listings" close to air time.
LIVE FROM MARS #1:
November 19, 1996,
Behind the scenes at Cape Canaveral: the launch of Mars Global
Surveyor: final preparation of the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.
Why go to Mars? the evidence of liquid water and the
possibility of life. Past missions -- from first dreams of
interplanetary travel to the sophisticated spacecraft of today.
LIVE FROM MARS #2:
"CRUISING BETWEEN THE PLANETS"
April 24, 1997
Behind the scenes at NASA's JPL, lead center for planetary
exploration. How rocket fuel, momentum, gravity and ingenuity
get spacecraft from Earth to Mars. Mars Pathfinder's and Global
Surveyor's progress to date. Portraits of the men and women
who control the missions. Building and testing robots.
LIVE FROM MARS #3:
July 4 and/or 5, 1997
Final air-time and channel TBD
Pathfinder's arrival at Mars: first images from the Martian
surface. Sojourner deploys and returns its first images of the
lander. The Planetary Society's PLANETFEST celebrates the
last decade of Earth's achievements in exploring the solar
system, with a special focus on Mars and the Galileo mission
LIVE FROM MARS #4:
"WITH PATHFINDER TO MARS"
Highlights of the earlier programs
A re-edited compilation (distributed on tape, not live) of the
previous programs, designed to introduce students to
Pathfinder's travels, from "launch through landing", in the new
school year of 1997-98, and prepare them for...
LIVE FROM MARS #5:
"TODAY ON MARS... "
Live weather data and imagery from Mars shows what has been
learned to date from the Pathfinder lander and rover: how the
continuing data stream provides students with material to
analyze in math and computer classes. What Sojourner has
revealed, to date, about the actual composition of Martian
rocks, and what this implies for the question of liquid water
and the possibility of life. A preview of the next decade of
LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2
This electronic field trip to the Palmer Peninsula (that part of the
continent across the stormy Drake Passage from Chile) takes place
at the time of year when students can see baby seals and penguins
still in their birth colonies and rookeries, amid some of the most
spectacular scenery in the world.
PASSPORT will use NASA's ACTS satellite (the same Advanced
Technology Communications Satellite which made LIVE FROM THE
STRATOSPHERE possible) to link Palmer and the outside world for
the first time by live video. We will also be live, at sea, from a
Coast Guard icebreaker, the Research Vessel (R.V.) Polar Duke,
observing ongoing marine science in real time.
In addition to marine biology, Palmer is a center for long-term
ecological research, and our program will also provide the latest
information on issues of global climate change, on the stability of
Antarctic ice-shelves and ice-sheets, and the ozone hole. Our tape
crew will be on location sufficiently in advance of the live
programming to create the same kind of highly visual stories which
enlivened LFA 1. This year, the science content will be more focused
than during LFA 1, where we dealt with multiple subjects --
geology, weather and astronomy, as well as biology. However we
know our animal subject-matter is extremely appealing to younger
viewers, with climate change of great interest to older audiences.
DATES AND TIMES, AND CONTENT SUMMARIES
Current dates and times for the live programs are as follows, but all
viewers should "check local listings" close to air time. (All times
are 13:00-14:00 hours Eastern.)
LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2, #1:
"OCEANS, ICE AND LIFE"
Life on board the R.V. Polar Duke... and life in the icy oceans.
Live from the R.V. Polar Duke at sea, close to Palmer Station.
What it takes to prepare for a productive research trip; how
researchers get to Antarctica via Punta Arenas, Chile, and a
passage over the stormiest waters on Earth. A close-up look at
how researchers study krill and other creatures close to the
bottom of the food chain, and how global climate affects all
the creatures who live here -- from plankton through whales.
LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2, #2:
"BIRDS DOWN BELOW"
Live from a penguin rookery close to Palmer Station. A close-
up view of the first weeks of life of a new generation of
Adelie penguins, and insights on what makes some thrive, and
some not survive. We also travel via Zodiac -- a small
inflatable boat which is the primary transportation for the
researchers -- to other islands to study the skuas which prey
on unhatched penguin eggs. A portrait of Palmer Station, the
40-person research outpost: the sights and sounds that face
the dedicated researchers who come here year after year.
LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA 2, #3:
"EARTH'S COLD CANARY"
If Earth were a coal mine, Antarctica would be its canary: how
biological and climate studies reveal long-term changes in Earth's
environment. Palmer Peninsula is the only place in Antarctica where
organisms larger than lichens can exist on land. We see how
scientists use tiny greenhouses to study how plant growth relates to
changes in Earth's atmosphere, temperature and amount of
UltraViolet radiation. We also look at elephant seals and giant
whales. This final program shows how research in the Palmer
Peninsula, on land and at sea, this season and over many seasons
past and to come, provide a unique gage by which to measure what's
happening to Antarctica, and to our planet.
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page was last updated on June 30, 1996.