New Program Pursues Academic Missions for Mars
A new nonprofit campaign is challenging American high school science teachers to devise some out-of-this-world ideas about incorporating Mars into classroom instruction.
“The science required to study Mars is largely the same Earth science that is currently taught in school districts around the country,” said Chris Carberry, executive director of Beverly, Mass.-based Explore Mars Inc., one of the groups behind the Mars Education Challenge.
“By showing that the study of Mars is highly relevant to the study of Earth, we want to find new ways to excite students not only in space exploration, but in science and engineering—both of which are vital to the competitiveness of this nation. We think that this program will create innovative ways to teach science in the classroom.”
Explore Mars, which was created to promote science and technology innovation and education tied to Mars exploration and settlement, launched the Mars Education Challenge in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association and the Planetary Society.
Explore Mars said the challenge seeks “ingenious ways” for high school science teachers to fit Mars science and exploration into their classroom lessons.
The inaugural challenge will recognize six Mars curriculum entries—five regional and one national—with awards of $2,500 to $5,000 each. Winners also will be able to conduct field research with well-known planetary scientists.
The Mars Education Challenge is sponsored by aerospace and defense company Aerojet Corp.
In April, President Obama said he envisioned having humans orbit Mars by the mid-2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with a Mars landing to follow.