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A Collaborative Activity

The challenge is for you to work with other students to research what makes a planet habitable for humans and then decide if Mars can support human life. After completing this research, you will design a martian that is capable of surviving on Mars. The key questions cover some of the issues the scientists are tackling. Your design may answer some or all of the questions below.

Your teacher will tell you how to assign the roles for your group. Choose from:

  • Astrophysicists study objects in the universe including galaxies, stars, plnaets, moons, asteroids, meteoroids and comets to understand what they are made of, their surface features, their histories and how they were formed. They spend most of their time in laboratories and offices looking at information gathered by instruments such as telescopes, sensors and probes, deciding what information means and writing papers and reports about what they find.
  • Atmospheric Scientists study the atmosphere--the blanket of air covering the Earth. Atmospheric scientists, commonly called meteorologists, study the atmosphere's physical characteristics, motions, and processes, and the way it affects the rest of our environment. The best known application of this knowledge is in forecasting the weather. However, weather information and meteorological research are also applied in air-pollution control, agriculture, air and sea transportation, defense, and the study of trends in Earth's climate such as global warming, droughts, or ozone depletion.
  • Biologists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment. They usually work in research and development. Some conduct basic research to advance knowledge of living organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. Past research has resulted in the development of vaccines, medicines, and treatments for cancer andother diseases.
  • Geologists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. By using sophisticated instruments and analyses of the Earth and water. They also study the Earth's geologic past and present in order to make predictions about its future. For example, they may study the Earth's movements to try to predict when and where the next earthquake or volcano will occur and the probable impact on surrounding areas to minimize the damage. Many geologists are involved in the search for oil and gas, while others work closely with environmental scientists in preserving and cleaning up the environment.

Key Questions

  1. What are the characteristics that make a planet habitable for humans?
  2. Is Mars habitable for humans? Why or why not?
  3. What kind of life-form might exist on Mars?

After your team has researched these questions, design your own Martian. Remember, you can't construct a dome or other structure with an artificial environment for your Martian to live in. This life-form must be able to live on the planet itself.

Detailed questions for each role

Helpful Links:


Intro Page | Additional Resources


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