WORLD FIRST MARSLINK MISSION UPDATE - 2008
By Dr. Dana M. Barry, C.P.C.
Dr. Dana M. Barry’s World First MarsLink team continues to make progress. Members in the United States, Malaysia, and Japan participate in planet/star gazing sessions and other space-related events and contests. Dr. Barry’s MarsLink Space Mission activities are now a component of her International Program in Creative Education. She initiated this program, in collaboration with Dr. Hideyuki Kanematsu of Japan, to promote and develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills in students of all ages. Dr. Barry gave several presentations about this international program and its components, while serving as a Visiting Professor in Malaysia during the month of December (2007). This ambitious Program in Creative Education won a national award from the American Chemical Society in August of 2007.
One creative activity, successfully being carried out in the United States and Japan, relates to the planets. A teacher/professor has a general discussion in class about our planet Earth, which includes land, water, plants, animals, and people (who breathe oxygen to stay alive). Then some photos are displayed of our planet and of other planets in the Solar System like Mars (a cold planet with two moons and an atmosphere that is composed of about 95% carbon dioxide gas). Finally the students are asked to brainstorm and create a new planet of their own.
Professor Kanematsu had two different groups of students (16 year olds and 21 year olds) carry out this activity at Suzuka National College of Technology, Japan. He found out that the younger students were more excited with the project and that their planets were more creative than those of the older students. For example, one student’s planet seems to mainly consist of water. See picture.
Dr. Barry’s team members in the U.S. carried out creative design experiments using aluminum, an element found on Mars. Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Also soils at the Mars Pathfinder site (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/science/mineralogy.html) contain aluminum. It is silvery white and has resistance to atmospheric corrosion. Aluminum is used in spacecrafts, space equipment, the Mars rover, beverage cans, baseball bats, and in many other items. The students first studied the properties of aluminum and then used aluminum foil to creatively design and build boats. (This activity is included in Barry’s and Kanematsu’s new creative science book referenced below.) Next they tested their boats with a cargo of pennies, by floating them in a tub of water. The children thoroughly enjoyed this science experience and determined the best boat design for transporting cargo. A young scientist creates a boat made of aluminum foil. See photo.
Dr. Barry’s World First MarsLink Mission is supported by NASA and Space Explorers, Inc. and sponsored by the Northern New York Section of the American Chemical Society. She and her team are very grateful to Space Explorers, Inc. for their continued interest and outstanding support. Also Dr. Barry and her collaborator Dr. Kanematsu look forward to carrying out a Mars Explorer Simulation later this year with students in Japan.
MARSLINK –RELATED / SCIENCE PUBLICATION
Barry, Dana M. and Hideyuki Kanematsu. Develop Critical Thinking Skills, Solve a Mystery, Learn Science. Tate Publishing, U.S. (2007).