Student Activity #3
THE DESIGN TEAM
Certain tools, called "robots," do tasks people cannot do.
Sometimes the task is too dangerous for people, sometimes the robot can
do the job better, sometimes for less money. NASA is planning a manned
mission to Mars for which robots play an important part in preparing
for the mission.
a separate sheet of paper, draw what you think a robot designed to explore
the surface of Mars would look like. Describe your robot in words.
Explore the following sites after you complete your drawing and description.
How do the robots differ from what you thought they were?
Take the "Rover Design" challenge!
Pretend you are an engineer on NASA's design team. Your job is to design
a vehicle that can move on the surface of Mars and study its rocks.
- You need to design a vehicle that can move and collect information
on Mars. What kinds of information would you want to collect on Mars? Make
a list. What does your vehicle need to be able to do in order to get your
- 2. As a class, generate a list of things you could use to build your
vehicle (such as Legos, Construx, K'Nex, cardboard, etc.). Decide who will
be responsible for bringing which materials from home.
- 3. When materials have been collected, draw your vehicle and label
its parts. Then build your vehicle using any materials you want to use.
Your vehicle may be no larger than a shoe box. It must not weigh more than
10.5 kg (24 lb.).
- What will it use for power? (for example: solar cells, batteries, nuclear
- How will it collect temperature and other weather recordings?
- How will it collect information about soil and rocks?
- How will it communicate information back to earth?
- What else would you like to include on your vehicle?
When your vehicle is finished, share it with the class.
Be sure to show its important parts and tell what each part will do.