Space exploration has captured the imagination of the public since Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, while Mars, the "red planet", has fascinated mankind throughout recorded history. This component of our NASA funded program provides Mars science and engineering data and themes to develop educational science and engineering modules for K-12 schools, and for public presentations. It is designed around the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Pathfinder Mission to Mars. It will utilize Pathfinder's science and engineering data direct from the surface of Mars, along with data from previous missions, as a basis for students to learn scientific and engineering concepts and practices.
Our primary goal is to help students develop a "Scientific" approach toward understanding and problem solving by carrying out exercises based on Mars engineering and science problems. This includes developing, disseminating and implementing age-appropriate K-12 science educational modules and materials in conjunction with K-12 teachers. Displays, teaching modules and related curricula, pertaining to topics in space sciences and aerospace engineering, are being developed, and teachers and students will be trained to access this material simply and routinely. Teaching, science, and technical expertise are being combined to develop classroom usable and deliverable products, compatible with the National Academy of Science's "National Science Education Standards".
Artists rendition of descent, landing and deployment phases: JPL. (128K)
Mars based educational modules are being developed, beginning in 1995 and continuing into 1998: they will be widely distributed during the 1996 - 1997 school year. (Paralleling this development is our Atmospheric Sciences component for Earth; these are integrated in our module and resource development to the maximum extent possible.) This collaborative program involves educators, NASA JPL, museums, corporations and volunteers. Other sources such as the NASA Ames CMEX, Center for Mars Exploration Home Page, provide major Mars resources. These and other Internet delivered materials, resources and information will allow students and the public to understand the mission prior to the July 1997 entry, landing and operations, and students to participate in activities which directly access mission information. These materials and infrastructure will be provided to teachers as a foundation for development, expansion and modification, and they will be encouraged to customize them to best serve their needs.
During these developments, we are drawing heavily from our Education, Engineering, Mission Operations and Science experience, (especially during and after the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars), participation in the Pathfinder mission, and in designing Mars missions and infrastructure. This program will help the students to build and integrate analytical abilities into their interactions with and contributions to society.
Artists rendition of Pathfinder on Mars: JPL. (147k)
These modules will enhance the ability of students and teachers to
use space sciences information and engineering design problems as
exciting, challenging subjects in themselves, and as foundations for
the further exploration of science and other subjects. Many will be
thoroughly familiar with the goals and technology of the Pathfinder
Mission by studying the educational modules developed by this program,
by the collaborating Pathfinder team members, by JPL, and by
others. Access to the science and engineering information direct from
Mission Operations at JPL through this interface, provides a strong
incentive to participate in these developments, and apply them to K-12
education programs. The Sojourner rover
has already captured the interest and is stimulating imaginative
alternative student designs. The "Live From
the Mars Room " at JPL!. During the early phases of mission
operations in July of 1997, we expect to serve several million
The Microrover Sojourner.(198K)
J E Tillman: