Mars Rover Curiosity on the Move

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
Curiosity took a series of pictures that were assembled to create a self portrait. The rover was designed to do this so Earth-bound scientists could look for dust on solar panels or check the condition of the exterior of the body. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

The rover, Curiosity, has been in one place for about a month while testing water samples and soil; soon it will move on in order to investigate rock samples, reports the New York Times.

As a young child, I believed I would go to Mars.  In fact, I did.  I participated in a local program that allows elementary aged kids the opportunity to make-believe they are part of a mission to the Red Planet.  (By the time I was eight, I’d settled on Paleontologist, which is what I eventually did become.)

I have created a series of lessons on describing and identifying sedimentary rocks that will help students understand how Curiosity is investigating Mars by allowing them to practice using similar skills here on earth.  It is available for a temporarily discounted price on my Teachers Pay Teachers website.

The Curiosity rover has been analyzing samples of soil and the atmosphere, looking for water and analyzing the composition of the sediments.

Recently, in light of national budget crises there has been pressure indicating that we (that is, NASA) should not be concerned with going to Mars at all.  I agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson: inspiration and motivation for the next generation to pursue science and innovative technology we have to have these incredible carrots hanging in front of us. When I was a child, I believed that people would go to Mars – we haven’t yet, but we have robots that can collect the information we need to answer the most pressing questions we have about Mars.  My generation has solved those problems.

What problems are the next generation thinking of solving?  Do they dream of going to Mars, or something bigger?  Or have they lost faith in that sort of dream entirely?

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