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.
- What are the characteristics that make a planet habitable
- Is Mars habitable for humans? Why or why not?
- 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
Intro Page | Additional