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

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


SAKIMOTO, S.E.H., Department of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Univ of Notre Dame, 156 Fitzpatrick Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556-5637 and GROSFILS, E.B., Geology Department, Pomona College, 609 N College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711-6356, sakimoto@core2.gsfc.nasa.gov

The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mission arrived at Mars in 1997 shortly after the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Lander and Rover Mission. It is the first orbiter mission since the Viking Mission in the 1970’s, and its data collection is ongoing. This mission is contributing to revolutionary changes in our understanding of nearly every aspect of Martian science, and there has been substantial effort to disseminate the data and ongoing results to the public. This presentation focuses in particular on efforts to reach K-12 and college educators and their undergraduate research students, with emphasis on the image (Mars Orbiter Camera or MOC) and topographic (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter or MOLA) data sets. Images and topography are, with some preparation, readily understandable to both the general public and educators, and are familiar data types for undergraduate students. The K-12 National Science Education Standards and Project 2061 benchmarks both emphasis science learning and inquiry. The MGS data and some supporting freeware programs (e.g. Gridview) allow students at many levels to explore the mission data, pose questions, and use the data to answer them on many topics relevant to the Science Standards and Benchmarks like topographic maps, scale, geologic processes, solar system bodies, and planetary comparisons. At Johns Hopkins, the MOLA and MOC data have been used extensively since 1998 in graduate training of inservice teachers as part of an annual spring semester long course in “Understanding and Teaching the Solar System.” At the undergraduate level, the MGS data have been used as the basis for a KECK summer undergraduate research project, and numerous individual student projects across the country. This presentation will show examples of MGS data and how it fits into some curriculum inquiry units, show examples of uses of the data in undergraduate projects, and show sources for finding and using MGS data and analysis tools for additional projects.