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Resources for the segment: "Engineering of the Mars Science Laboratory"
Resources for Educators

Expedition Earth and Beyond -- This student involvement program allows teachers and their students in grades 5-14 to be actively involved in the excitement and journey of exploration, discovery and the process of science. EEAB facilitates student-driven, authentic research projects that study Earth and, if desired, compare Earth to other planetary bodies such as the moon and Mars.

NASA Solar System Exploration Education -- Explore NASA activities to help students learn more about Mars. The activities include building an edible Mars spacecraft and designing an entry, descent and landing system to protect the rover.

Mars Exploration Student Data Teams -- Through the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams, teachers and students work from their schools to help study and characterize different aspects of Mars, from the atmosphere to the surface, to help support the landed Mars Exploration Rover mission.

NASA's 21st Century Explorer: Why Do We Want to Study Mars? -- Learn more about the robotic missions that have gone to Mars.

NASA Animation Shows Mars Science Laboratory in Action -- The full 11-minute animation shows sequences such as the spacecraft separating from its launch vehicle near Earth and the mission's rover, Curiosity, zapping rocks with a laser and examining samples of powdered rock on Mars. A shorter, narrated version is available.

SpaceMath @ NASA -- SpaceMath @ NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in today's scientific discoveries. To access these problems click on the green registration button on the top right and follow the instructions at http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov.

We suggest the following problems related to Mars and the Mars rovers:
  • Problem 133: How Big Is It? The Mars Rover -- Students work with an image taken by the Mars Orbiter satellite of the Spirit landing site. They determine the image scale and calculate the sizes of various surface features from the image.
  • Problem 74: A Hot Time on Mars -- The NASA Mars Radiation Environment, or MARIE, experiment created a map of the surface of Mars and measures the ground-level radiation background that astronauts would be exposed to. This mathematics problem lets students examine the total radiation dosage that these explorers would receive on a series of 1,000-kilometer journeys across the Martian surface. To get a sense of perspective, the students will compare this dosage to typical background conditions on Earth and in the International Space Station.
  • Problem 70: Calculating Total Radiation Dosages at Mars -- This problem uses data from the Mars Radiation Environment, or MARIE, Experiment that orbited Mars and measured the daily radiation dosage that an astronaut would experience in orbit around Mars. Students will use actual plotted data to calculate the total dosage by adding up the areas under the data curve. Students will calculate the dosages for cosmic radiation and solar proton flares and will decide which component produces the most severe radiation problem.
  • Problem 237: The Martian Dust Devils -- Students determine the speed and acceleration of a Martian dust devil from time lapse images and information about the scale of the image.

Resources for Students

Drive the Mars Rovers -- Choose a rover and begin exploring the geology of Mars in this NASA interactive.

Rover Photosynth -- Get to know the Mars Science Laboratory rover by exploring this 3-D photosynth of the rover in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Yard. Use your mouse to move and explore the images.

NASA eClips™ Video Clips About Mars -- Learn about Mars and the new rover Curiosity with these fun, short videos.
  • Our World: Challenges of Exploration -- Finding the Right Vehicle for the Job -- Find out how NASA uses science and mathematics to successfully design the type of vehicle needed for specific missions. See why scientists refer to entry, descent and landing as "seven minutes of terror."
  • Real World: Farewell to the Mars Phoenix Lander -- See what tools were sent to Mars on board the Phoenix lander. Find out why scientists chose a lander to search for water ice on the Red Planet and how they used mathematics to slow Phoenix down enough to make a safe landing.
  • Launchpad: Curiosity Goes to Mars -- Find out why Curiosity is the best name for the largest rover ever to be sent to another planet. Learn about the challenges of landing on a planet with an atmosphere and the geology and chemistry questions scientists hope to answer with instruments on the Mars Science Laboratory.
Space Place: Let's Go to Mars -- Pack your spaceship and blast off for the Red Planet in this interactive game.

Eyes on the Solar System -- Use this 3-D interactive website to follow NASA's missions to Mars. See what the spacecraft looked like and where they traveled.