Purpose: To investigate the heat absorption and transfer properties of
various soils. You will experiment with Earth soils. You will compare
your results with the Mars observations. ( You may notice there is not
enough information to formulate a good hypothesis or reach a firm
conclusion. ) The Martian data included here were collected under
different conditions and for a different purpose. After your Earth
soils experiments you will design your own experiment that could be
carried on a future Mars mission.
Do this experiment outside under controlled conditions. Select a day
when clear skies are forecast. Place the cups in a location which is
not shaded during the day one day prior to reading the
temperatures. Read the temperatures at the same intervals as the
inside experiment. Begin as early in the morning and continue until as
late as possible. (This lab is similar to the Inside
Soil Test, only done outside the classroom) You will use the Scientific
Method to gather information about the possibility of living on Mars.
Observe the soil samples and develop your hypothesis based on your observations
and experience with soils. A Data Sheet that you can fill out is also available.
Study the variables so that you will be better able to maintain the
controlled variables and keep the experiment valid.
Graph your data such that time is on the horizontal axis and temperature
is on the vertical axis. Compare your graphs with the graphs of Martian
Conclusion: Now, compare your results with the initial hypotheses.
The second hypothesis
WAS/ WAS NOT
Explain how the results of this test support, weaken or otherwise affect the
What other information about Martian soil would you like to
Design an experiment for future Mars missions that would provide additional
information about Martian soil that you think would be helpful:
Outside Soils Data SheetInside Soils Lab SheetTo the Mars Soil DataTo the Questions/Extensions Page