Questions and Extensions:Soils Module
- What are some experiments we should do on Earth and Mars to determine Martian soil type?
- How useful were these experiments in determining Martian soil type?
- What is needed in "soil" to support plant growth?
- Which kind of soil does Mars most likely have?
- What is the likelihood we could grow food in Martian soil?
- How would your results be affected if you forgot to control a variable?
- Collect data for the cooling of soils (the reverse of the experiment in this module).
- Does moisture in soil affect the heating rate?
- Does the composition of the soil affect the heating rate?
- Does the density of the soil affect the heating rate?
- Does using different cups affect the heating rate of soils?
- Explore the literature and media related to Mars. These include mythology,
science fiction, movies, and astronomical resources. Discuss
how these have shaped our conceptions and misconception of Mars, space,
- How is the heating rate of soils effected by depth?
- How is the heating rate of soils effected by geographic location? Which makes more difference: longitude, latitude, or altitude?
- Look for other connections between Mars and Earth. Data exists for
air pressure, air temperature, and humidity.
- Plot data over an extended length of time and look for cycles. Similar
data is available from Mars.
- Try alternate forms of data gathering and analysis. Use a graphing
calculator or computer to record the temperature information. Recommended
devices are the "Calculator Based Laboratory" (CBL) from Texas
Instruments and computer interface devices from Vernier Incorporated.
- Would we get the same results if the soil samples are farther from
the heat source? Why or why not?
- Write a story or essay describing a Martian colony focusing on the
resources Mars offers. Include a discussion of the types of jobs people
will have, the rules under which the colony would operate, the responsibilities
people would have as citizens of a colony, and the "impact" each
individual would make on the planet.
Other Mars resources are available on the Mars
Profile page and the Resources
index. Further exercises involving Viking Lander Soils and
Surface Materials are available.