Learn All About Mars, “Curiosity” is Landing Soon!

We have started getting excited about the Mars Space Laboratory, Curiosity which has been enroute to Mars for about eight months now.  We started doing some activities to learn about Mars. I wanted to post this early enough that you could get your child excited about the upcoming landing too. It’s a little less than two weeks away!

The new Mars Rover, a space laboratory called Curiosity is set to land August 5th. The landing is exciting (or tense for the scientists!) because of the deceleration needed to set the 1-ton rover down on Mars. It has to go from 13,000 miles per hour to 0 mph in just seven minutes! (See more here.) This landing will be different from previous missions. This time instead of using airbags, Curiosity will be lowered down on a tethers.  Here is an artist’s drawing of the landing.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity will land at the Gale Crater near the Martian equator about 10:31 p.m., Aug. 5 PDT (1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT).

Below is an artist’s drawing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity as it examines a rock on Mars.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL Caltech

Activities about Mars:

Mars Education Program: I found a wonderful activity booklet (free pdf) put together by NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arizona State University with well over a hundred pages of hands-on activities and information about Mars. (The pdf is also located here in case that first link doesn’t work.)  It’s sets out a wonderful set of activities and if you have kids in the 6-13 age range this packet will keep your kids occupied for close to two weeks!

Who’s going to join me in having their kids make an edible Mars rover?!! Sounds fun, if not sweet! (Hey and if you do, send me a picture and I’ll put it up!)

Explore! Mars Inside and Out has a series of activities (similar to the pdf link  I shared above). They developed some journal pages to go along with these activities and I included a picture of those and the link below.

There are two sets of journals (I only show one set of these below.)

Mars Journal: Mars Inside and Out

Here’s the link to Scratching the Surface, another Mars Journal they made.

Submit Your Solar System Drawings:

If you have a budding young artist, you could also participate in NASA’s drawing activity, People’s Space: Draw a planet. Design a robot to explore that planet. Use crayons, pencils, paint or a computer. They are interested in original artwork from explorers of all ages.

For more details about how to submit your drawing visit this NASA page.

Have fun!

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