NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-5612 or 650/604-9000
September 29, 2005
NASA Makes Exploring Mars from the Skies a Classroom Reality
As NASA prepares for the future exploration of Mars, students on Earth can now let their imagination and curiosity soar though the canyons of Valles Marineris and over the top of Olympus Mons on the red planet.
On Oct 1, 2005, NASA will release the latest classroom tool to excite students in grades 5 to 8 about NASA's bold goal of a human mission to Mars. 'Wings Over Mars', developed by the educational technology team at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, is an interactive Website that will introduce the promising concept of planetary flight on Mars.
"This exciting new project highlights the contribution aircraft can play in NASA's human exploration mission," said Christina O'Guinn of the NASA Ames educational technology team. "The project exposes students to the benefits of planetary flight and engages them in the engineering challenges of planetary flight on Mars."
"Mars aircraft can give scientists a perspective that is different than that provided by rovers and orbiters, giving scientists a more complete view of Mars," O'Guinn added.
The site includes background videos and animations that introduce students to the engineering challenges of developing an airborne Mars explorer, including the differences between flight on Earth and on Mars and an introduction to aircraft design. To help support students, the site has articles for additional information and a section that will allow teachers to incorporate the information into their classroom curriculum.
These resources will support future online NASA Quest Web challenges in which students, with the help of NASA experts, explore various engineering problems associated with designing a Mars airplane. During these challenges, students tackle a design problem relating to an actual NASA mission. Students work in teams on preliminary solutions or designs as NASA experts answer questions and provide 'real-time' critiquing. The interaction with scientists occurs via question-and-answer sessions, chats, interactive Webcasts, and posted feedback on the Web site.
'Wings Over Mars' is funded by NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Washington, DC, through the Aeronautics Education Coordinating Committee to support the nation's Vision for Space Exploration.
For more information about the Wings Over Mars Web site, visit:
For more information about NASA Quest, visit:
For more information about NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, visit:
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