NOAO < EDUCATION < ASTRO Chile: Remoste Sensing Mars

Remote Sensing of Mars Activity (2007, 2008)

In March 2007, the remote sensing activity on Mars was launched. Students could transfer what they learned about the geology and geography of Earth to acquaint themselves with the geography and geology of Mars, while continuing their experience to interact directly with fellow students in another hemisphere. Part 1 of this activity was adapted from activities by the education group at Arizona State University. Part 2 of this activity used newly released HiRise images of Mars and was written by University of Arizona graduate student, in education and in planetary science, Sanlyn Buxner, with guidance and testing from C. Walker and H. Ochoa in EPO. Once again the capstone event was a student-to-student videoconference between NOAO North and South in May 2007.

To embellish the program further, from late May to mid-August 2007, an REU student with the EPO department, Gabor Angeli, was tasked with building a working model of the Mars rover which could be operated remotely over the internet. The completed, working model was shipped to the CADIAS center near La Serena, Chile in August where students there could control it as it traversed a newly built Mars garden. Its on-board camera is used to study “rocks from Mars”.

In October 2007, a second remote sensing of Mars workshop was given to the Tucson teachers by NOAO-North’s EPO staff, with an improved version of the activity. In April 2008, a workshop on the remote sensing of Mars was given to the teachers in Chile by D. Orellana of CADIAS and H. Ochoa of CTIO with a videoconference appearance by C. Walker. In October 2008, a third teacher workshop in Tucson was given at the Phoenix Mars Mission Science Operations Center. EPO staff member, Connie Walker, U. of Arizona graduate students, Kelly Kolb and Sanlyn Buxner, and Tucson high school teacher, Christoph Martin, gave a workshop on the exploration of Mars to 30 teachers from Arizona. This was a training workshop to recruit teachers for the Mars Remote Sensing project with the Chilean teachers (and students) in the ASTRO-Chile program. The workshop was in preparation for plans with David Orellana (Director of CADIAS) and Hugo Ochoa (NOAO-South EPO) to carry out a joint program (culminating in a videoconference) for late Spring 2009.

The teacher and student guides for the remote sensing of Mars activity in both Spanish and English and the images used in the activity, as well as the powerpoint presentations made by students from Chile and Tucson at the videoconference and photographs from the videoconference, are available. There is also a powerpoint presented to the teachers that is downloadable here.





Contact the staff of ASTRO-Chile:

Connie Walker, Tucson Site Director

Kathie Coil, EPO Program Coordinator

FAX: 520-318-8451