2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:50 AM


KLUG, Sheri L.1, WATT, Keith1, VALDERRAMA, Paige1 and KELLER, John2, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, Arizona State Univ, Mars Space Flight Facility, Moeur Bldg. Rm. 131, Box 876305, Tempe, AZ 85287-6305, (2)Steward Observatory CAPER Team, Univ of Arizona, 1629 E. University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85721, sklug@asu.edu

Teachers are finding it more difficult to find ways they can inspire, motivate, and instill a desire for learning and excellence in their students, especially when it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math subjects. NASA has materials that are extremely attractive to teachers, as students gravitate towards this content because of interest in this subject and curiosity at all grade levels. Teachers are looking for materials and experiences that will deliver the content they are charged with teaching (and being tested on), yet be engaging enough to inspire the students to higher levels of learning. The Mars Exploration Program recognizes this educational opportunity and is striving to make a direct connection to the future scientists, technologists, and engineers that are in our classrooms through the use of current or near-real time mission data.

Several such programs have emanated from the Mars Odyssey mission that provide the opportunity for students to move from passive roles in science to active, immersive roles. They no longer just study science - they experience science. The Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP) allows 5th grade through community college student teams from around the U.S. access to the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera onboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The teams use flight software to target the camera to take a picture that is central to the topic and scientific question they have decided to research. They work as a team to analyze the image and distill the results of their efforts. The Mars Exploration Student Data Teams (MESDT) competitively selects high school student teams meeting virtually across the country to participate in data analysis using real-time data during mission operations. This program was first conducted during the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission and involved 25 schools (over 500 high school students) using THEMIS and Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data to characterize the impacts of temperature and dust storm hazards on the MER landing sites. Finally, Standards-aligned hands-on activities have been developed using data sets from Odyssey's Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) and THEMIS camera. These activities provide real-world application using engaging, non-terrestrial examples in the hopes of inspiring their future academic endeavors.