MARS EXPLORATION SCIENCE PROJECTS FROM CURIOSITY TO MARS 2020
We will present the practical plan of a scalable project for middle school or high school students, starting from the data returned by Curiosity from Gale Crater. The project is divided into several exploratory stages, distributed among student teams from different geographical locations, thus facilitating easier access to various Earth analogs. Data sharing and synchronization of activities between the teams are accomplished through cloud collaboration on mobile devices. A customized mobile application allows real-time sharing of raw images, in-situ instrument readings, and coordinating instructions between teams. The project is intended to develop students’ critical thinking, and to expand their scientific experience by practicing comparative analysis between Mars and Earth analogs, while using a cloud collaboration environment. The output of such a project is intended as a student presentation at a geological/geophysical conference.
As mobile platforms increase in popularity, scientific discovery becomes a fact of everyday life readily accessible to students, while social media and cloud collaboration facilitates easy exchange of ideas. At the same time, Mars exploration will continue to be a catalyst of scientific interest among the youngsters, excited to push farther the frontiers of human exploration. As the MSL mission is accomplishing its prime mission to discover proofs of ancient habitable conditions, the MARS 2020 mission is preparing to asses Mars as a potential habitat for life, to search for signs of past life, to collect samples for future return to Earth, and to prepare for human exploration of Mars. Such exciting goals can only fuel the imagination, creativity and desire for discovery of the young generation.