In a few days, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, is set to land on Mars. What will this rover do? Curiosity will look for things that sustain life: signs of long-term water in the past or present and the right chemical ingredients for life (e.g., carbon-based molecules, the chemical building blocks of life). Use this historic occasion to introduce current real-world science and engineering to your students.
Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars at 1:31 a.m. EDT on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (That’s 10:31 p.m. PDT, Sunday, Aug. 5.) That evening, Mars will be visible in the night sky with a telescope or with the naked eye. Take this opportunity to host a Mars-gazing party! Just after sunset, Mars will be roughly 150 million miles away from Earth, and the Curiosity Rover will be only hours away from arriving to this distant orange dot in the night sky. Submit your events to https://www.nasa.gov/marst.
— Looking for activities to get students excited about the upcoming landing? A number of short, hands-on activities relating to the mission are available at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/participate/marsforeducators/soi/.
For a basic overview of the Red Planet, visit the following websites:
Basic Information on Mars
Mars Image Collection
3-D Images of Mars
Want to know more about the area where the Curiosity rover will be landing on Mars? Visit the following websites to learn more about Gale Crater:
Destination Gale Crater: August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm PDT
Gale’s Mount Sharp Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth
National Parks as Mars Analog Sites
The Curiosity rover will landing using a bold new landing technique. Check out the “Seven Minutes of Terror” video to see how rockets, parachutes and a “sky crane” will help Curiosity make a soft landing on Mars.
Live media coverage of the Curiosity landing begins at midnight EDT (9 p.m. PDT) on NASA TV. To find NASA TV on your local cable provider, or to view the coverage online, visit https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv.
Curiosity also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook.
For up-to-the-minute mission information about the Curiosity rover and progress toward its Mars landing, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mars and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov.