Purpose: To investigate the heat absorption and transfer properties of
various soils. You will experiment with Earth soils inside and
outside. Your results from the outside soil experiment should be
compared with data from the Mars Viking Lander 1. You may notice there
is not enough information to reach a firm conclusion about the Mars
soil measurements. After your Earth soils experiments you will design
your own experiment that could be carried on a future Mars mission.
Do this experiment in your classroom under controlled conditions. Heat
the soil samples with light bulbs and record the soils' temperatures over
time. (This lab is the same as the Outside
Soil Test, only done inside 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: