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MARS Dead or Alive

Viewing Ideas

PDF

Before Watching

  1. Ask students to imagine that they can visit Mars. What would they want to find out about the planet?

  2. Review the solar system with your class. Discuss distances between planets, especially between Mars and Earth. (See NASA's "The Solar System" for more information: heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/cosmic/solar_system_info.html)

  3. Organize your class into three teams. Assign each team a different part of the Mars Exploration Rovers (instrumentation and power systems, parachute, landing system) to track during the program. They should take notes on how each part or parts work, problems that developed during testing, and how each problem was addressed.

After Watching

  1. Make a chart on the board that lists the three parts of the rovers. Have each team contribute examples of the problems affecting the parts that were tracked and how those problems were solved.

  2. Ask students why scientists sent robots to Mars. What did they want to find out? How did what scientists want to find out compare with what students wanted to know?

  3. Discuss the evidence scientists are seeking to help provide clues about whether an environment that could have supported life on Mars ever existed. Why are scientists interested in finding this out?

Teacher's Guide
MARS Dead or Alive
BUY THE VIDEO PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY IDEAS FROM TEACHERS RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS