The Mission to Mars unit introduces students to Mars, often called the Red Planet. Students discover why everyone is so interested in studying this mysterious planet. Many interesting facts about Mars are revealed, and the history of Martian exploration is reviewed. Students learn about the development of robotics and how robots are beneficial to science, society and the exploration of space. Details on engineers’ involvement in space exploration are explained, such as how orbits enable astronauts to move from planet to planet and what type of equipment is used by scientists and engineers to safely explore space. The specific details on and human risks for a possible future “humanned” mission to Mars (and back to Earth again!) are explored.
This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Engineers have played various roles in the long history of exploring the Red Planet. In the mid-20th century, engineers designed rockets and probes that provided the first, up-close visuals of the mysterious planet. And, aerospace and electrical engineers designed and fabricated surface exploration equipment so that we could explore the planet in person! Today, engineers continue to work with scientists to develop reliable orbiters, rovers, aircraft and human transport for future missions.
Engineers know that risks are always involved with the exploration of space—just as in our daily lives. But for optimum human health and safety, engineers do their best to minimize risks by extensive testing and smart design of transportation, appliances, equipment and products. Engineers make our exploration of space possible and safe!