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From Mir to Mars
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The Scientific American Frontiers Teaching Guide has lots of great activities and experiements relating to space travel, astronomy, and life on other planets. You don't have to be a teacher to use these activities. Many of them can be done at home. They also make great science fair projects!

How Did the Universe Begin?
Astronomers have attempted to answer this question by studying ancient galaxies through the lenses of the world's most powerful telescopes. You'll get your opportunity by trying out the three activities found on this page -- "Modeling Red Shift, " "Modeling an Expanded Universe," and "Find Your Place in the Galaxy."

Where Did Life Come From?
Just as space scientists search for life on other planets, biologists search for clues to when and where life first began on Earth in the volcanic hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. Most concur that it began as minute bacteria afloat in a primordial ocean. Just "How Tough Are Bacteria? " Find out in this experiment. In "Volcanic Calderas, " you'll build a caldera and see what happens when a volcano blows its top!

How Did Earth Get Animals?
If bacterial life once existed on Mars, why didn't it develop into larger lifeforms, as it did on Earth? Rocks found in a Chinese quarry provide the evidence to explain the explosion of life that occurred about 570 million years ago on Earth. Try your hand at "Get a Half-Life" -- an activity related to this phenomenon.

Are We Alone?
No matter what scientists think, most people have an opinion one way or the other on the existence of aliens. If you're one of the many who believe we're not alone in the universe, here's your chance to make contact with alien beings! "Send a Message Into Space" ... and please notify the rest of us if you get a response!

Will Robots Take Over?
Sojourner, the robot that explored Mars last year as part of the Pathfinder mission, is just one example of how advanced robots have become. But will they take over for humans, as has been suggested in so many popular works of science fiction? Ponder that question as you "Build a Robotic Explorer" and "Design a Soft Lander."

Model Planet
In this activity, you'll find out just how important the environment is to preserving life. Scientists learned that lesson quickly when carbon dioxide rose to dangerous levels during the Biosphere 2 experiment, which took place several years ago in Arizona. Scientists researching a possible manned mission to Mars face some of the same obstacles.

Build a Biosphere
If lifeforms do exist elsewhere in the universe, what colors, sizes, or shapes might they be? Based on studies of creatures found in the depths of Earth's oceans, it's clear that life can take on millions of different forms, depending on how each species adapts to its environment. Here you'll get the chance to design and build your own mini-ecosystem and see what develops.

Aliens Have Landed
Did aliens crash in the desert outside the town of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947? What really happened? Before you make up your mind, try the experiments on this page -- "The Value of Experts, " "The Drake Equation: Is Anybody Out There? " and "The Value of Eyewitnesses. " They might make you think twice!