NASA successfully landed another spacecraft on Mars last week. My husband and I watched the landing and both of us had tears in our eyes. It is so totally amazing when you stop and think about what NASA has accomplished. We were just blown away. (We were also very impressed with the extremely cool “Star Trekkie” shirts that everyone in Mission Control was wearing during the landing. Don’t tell my husband, but one is on order for him for a holiday gift!)
The mission of this stationary craft is to study the deep interior of Mars. Launched along with InSight but flying separately were two CubeSats. MarCo A and B, nicknamed Wall-E and Eva (from the Pixar film Wall-E) are now in orbit around Mars.
The authentic projects that students could do regarding InSight and the CubeSats are endless. What is InSight’s mission? What mission firsts will take place? Is InSight a rover? What is the mission of the CubeSats? If you could design a mission to Mars what would your design be? What would you hope to accomplish? This list could go on forever…
My Martian Colony Project started by simply showing a fifth-grade class NASA videos of the Martian Rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. This authentic project took off from there and literally took over my professional life for the next four years! (For more on this check out my book One School’s Journey – you can read it for free on Kindle Unlimited.)