Posted by Laurie Sullivan at 12/7/2012
Photo: Students pretend to be at JPL celebrating a successful mission.
Today in the Discovery Lab the students identified the parts of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity and learned the purpose of each part. We played an online game where we sent commands to the rover to study an interesting rock or landform. We had to plan where the rover would drive so as to avoid craters and large rocks. To play the game, visit http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/multimedia/interactive/maps-tools-explore-mars/?ar_a=1
Next we watched part of a Reading Rainbow video about the work done with rovers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. Afterwards we performed a simulation (play). In the play we pretended to be NASA scientists/geologists, JPL engineers, a Mars orbiter and a Mars rover. The geologists decided which rock to study on Mars and shared the information with JPL. A signal was sent from the JPL computer to the Mars orbiter. Next the orbiter sent the signal to the rover and the rover followed the command to study the rock chosen by the geologists. A photo of the rock was sent back from the rover to the orbiter and then to JPL. JPL shared the data with the geologists and we all clapped for a successful mission!