Rovers:03 Rovers:03
Contest Information Contest Information

If you want to participate in the contest, all you will need to do is complete either the egg drop challenge portion of the Touchdown activity or the Balloon EDL System activity and submit the items requested in the contest Rules section. We have included resources and activities so that you can expand the contest into a 2-3 day "mini-unit" that will engage your students in the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Here is a sample outline of how you can use these resources in your classroom.

Day One:

  1. Begin class with a short brainstorming session to let students identify what they know about Mars. You may want to record their responses on the board.
  2. Have small groups (2-3 students) complete the Balloon Scale Model activity. This will give students a feel for the size of Mars and how far it is away from the Earth. Note, the distance used in this activity shows approximately the closest that the Earth will be to Mars.
  3. Either individually or in pairs, have students read through the Exploring Mars portion of the Student Section. Discuss with students what they find most interesting about Mars and the Mars Exploration Rovers.
  4. Preview the contest and what the students will be doing during the next day. If time permits, allow students to browse the web sites listed on the last page (11) of Exploring Mars.

Day Two: Option One - Touchdown Activity

  1. Introduce the Touchdown Activity. Provide time in class and as homework for students to design their landing system.
  2. You will need to test these landing systems on a third day. If time permits, allow students to revise their lander and re-test.
  3. Show the video of the entry, descent and landing animations located in the Movie portion of Exploring Mars . You may want to build the landing system described in the Balloon EDL System activity to illustrate how the EDL system for the Mars Exploration Rovers works. You should emphasize that the final design took hundreds of design-test-revise cycles over the course of a few years to develop.

Day Two: Option Two - Balloon EDL System activity

  1. Review the Entry, Descent and Landing portion of Exploring Mars and show the videos of the rover entry, descent and landing.
  2. Divide the class into small groups and have them build and drop their EDL systems.
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