Mars Significance

Mars Significance

February 18th the world was watching the rover, Perseverance land on Mars. There were nerves, excitement, and hope. Perseverance is the fifth rover to reach the surface of Mars though, so why is it so important? Why is everyone so excited? What is the significance of THIS rover?

Our team at Challenger Learning Center of Alaska sees this as an opportunity to make our world better. Perseverance will change the way we look at science, life, past life, and the Earth. The magnitude of new technology and the number of features included in this one rover is unbelievable.

In one mission we will be able to test a brand new technique in flying with the Mars helicopter, receive footage of the landing that we have never been able to witness before, test astronaut suit materials in the Mars atmosphere, test, take and store samples to later retrieve that will analyze signs of past life and resources similar to Earth’s, record sounds of natural events happening on the surface, and test a technology that could create oxygen from Mars’ CO2 atmosphere, to say the least!

All of this, to us, means if we can identify the resources for humans to survive on Mars, then we can discover how Mars reached the condition it is in now. We can learn how to revive Mars, how to grow a plant on Mars, and how to create oxygen on Mars. If we can do all this on a planet like Mars, can you imagine what we could do with that technology to save our home, Earth?

How is this mission significant to you? How did you feel watching Perseverance land on Mars? Join the conversation and leave a comment below to let us know!

#goperseverance

Perseverance Count Down!

Perseverance Count Down!

We are nine days away from the landing of Perseverance on Mars, the rover that was launched in 2020, seven months ago.

SO, what do you need to know for the live viewing?

This rover is not the first on mars but is the first of its kind. It will continue to conduct robotic field geology searching for signs of past life, as did its predecessors, but will also focus on tests that may determine the possibility for future human life. This new technology, called Moxie, tests the cabalilties of extracting oxygen from the CO2 atmosphere. Perseverance also carries a pair of microphones, which will provide historic audio of Martian sounds, such as arrival, landing, wind, and other ambient noise.

These studies help test ways to use Mar’s natural resources to support human explorers and improve designs for life support, transportation, and other systems for living and working on Mars.

Another unique feature on Perseverance is the terrain relative navigation. This new landing technique allows the rover to determine where it is landing and avoid hazardous terrain. To assist in landing it also has an extra feature called range trigger. It allows the parachute to open at the exact range necessary to accurately land the desired landing spot.

Additional new functions:

-Sample collection and caching system, allows 20 samples to be collected for future retrieval and testing on Earth.

-The Mars Helicopter, if successful will be the first flying device on Mars. (This guy is VERY cool!)

-Rimfax, ground penitrating radar

-23 cameras

-Bringing Spacesuit materials for testing

Perseverance is loaded with advanced tools that are well worth extra research. This is one impressive, exciting rover! https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

To prepare here is a list of fun activities you and your family can do:

  • Get Your Landing Resources
    Posters, stickers, fact sheets, mission patches and more.
  • Ways To Participate
    Try the Photo Booth, Send Your Name on the next mission to Mars, and check out other interactive experiences.
  • Watch Online
    Our quick guide to the TV programs coming up you can watch online.
  • Mission to Mars Student Challenge
    Get Mars-related webcasts for learners of all ages, along with lessons and activities for students.
  • Register for a Virtual Landing Event 
    Get notifications about landing opportunities, programming, and other mission information, plus a landing stamp for your virtual passport.
  • Virtual NASA Social 
    Connect online with other space enthusiasts, ask questions and get answers from NASA experts. Get a special badge to share online or print at home.

On Landing Day, Feb. 18, 2021:

After Landing:

  • Explore Mars with Perseverance
    As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.

Pumpkin Volcano

PUMPKIN VOLCANO

Are you getting ready to carve pumpkins with your kids like you do year after year? Bring a new twist to pumpkin carving this time by adding STEM! This is such an easy and instantly rewarding activity. Your kids will be delighted by the exploding foam escaping out of their pumpkin’s face, as well as the fun to touch texture of baking soda, vinegar and soap.

To get started:

SUPPLIES

  • Pumpkin
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Cookie sheet or large flat container (optional to contain the pumpkin and fizz from the chemical reaction)

DIRECTIONS

1. Ahead of time, cut the top off the pumpkin and clean the inside of the pumpkin out like you would do when preparing to carve a pumpkin.

2. Carve any type of pumpkin face out of one side of the pumpkin.

3. Gather all your supplies and place them nearby.

4. Drop a heaping amount of baking soda into the pumpkin. We didn’t really measure the ingredients, but added about a cup of baking soda to our medium sized pumpkin.

5. Add dish soap to the baking soda. Again we did not measure. Have the kids squeeze a good amount into the pumpkin.

6. When ready,  Pour vinegar into the pumpkin until the mixture begins to react, and place the pumpkin top back on.

You can wash out the pumpkin and redo it as many times as you want. For an extra spooky look, add some food coloring!

HAVE FUN!

New Programs!

Challenger Has New Programs

For YOU

CLCA is offering Alaskan Teachers, the ever-growing Homeschool population and individual parents looking to enroll their child into additional hands-on, engaging science classes, the opportunity to schedule Virtual STEM programs! 

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For Individual Students at Home

Let us cover your home school science credits, or sign up your child just for extra fun activities! We are offering a new weekly theme every month! Classes are delivered via Zoom for 1 1/2 hours a day and materials are provided for hands on learning!

Learn More & Register »

Custom Virtual Teacher Programs

Bring Challenger to your classroom for week long science curriculum. We can build custom lessons to what you need. Materials are sent to you for hands on learning and it’s as easy as inviting us to your virtual classroom! Learn more »

 

In-Center Options

Homeschool STEM Ahead Days are also an option! Sign your K-8th grader up for one day or all, offered on Tuesdays. You can see the schedule of topics for each day, pricing and registration here -> STEAM Ahead

If you child still goes to school but you’d like them to come in for this program you may still sign them up!

Kindernauts is a once a week program for your K-2nd grader, Thursdays for 1 1/2 hours. They will be immersed in a variety of goopy, wonderous and wacky STEM activities! Pricing, more details and registration can be found here-> Kindernauts

 

Teachers looking for more in class options?

We have ELearning programs, like Classroom Adventures virtually taking your class on a one hour team adventure!  Increase your students’ engagement in STEM subjects with an interactive team online adventure! Classroom Adventures takes the entire class on journeys to reach collective goals as they research, work together to answer questions, and collaborate to find solutions to urgent challenges. Choose from Aquatic Investigators, Dirt Decoders, or Nature Rangers! Call or email us to sign your class up. Licences are given to you to access these programs from your computers in your classroom! Contact Suzanne.phillips@akchallenger.org

You Are A Part Of CLCA and We Thank You!

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, CLCA, is excited to share with you that we were the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in Education, August 12th! As a nonprofit, our educational programs live on because of the support we receive from Alaskan communities. Assisting teachers, groups, and businesses fulfil their science curriculum, safety training or being here for team building retreats, is important to our mission. Community input, sponsorships and partners around Alaska is what makes our mission possible to achieve, therefore this award goes to all of you as well!

During the Challenger Center Annual Conference, Dr. Pelton recognized how important the student engagement and cultural exchange opportunity is that the Alaska meets Bermuda camp CLCA administered this summer, provides. Dr. Pelton also mentioned how exciting it was for him to see the virtual use of NASA’s equipment from the Artemis program, the Orion capsule, and the Natural Buoyancy Lab, being demonstrated to the students throughout the camp.  Dr. Pelton himself has played an enormous role in the space and STEM industries.Programs CLCA has been serving Alaskans for 20 years, providing STEM workshops and camps, simulated space missions, and water and land survival courses.

We are rolling out new programs and content throughout the year, So keep an eye on our website and social medias!