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Our Solar System: Exploring Mars

Video Overview
Fourth and fifth graders get a special look at the Mars Rover including a behind-the-scenes tour with a National Air and Space Museum Mars Rover scientist. Special thanks to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for their contributions to this video. >
Extension Activities

 Lesson Plan for "Our Solar System: Exploring Mars"

Recommended books for more information related to content found in "Our Solar System: Exploring Mars":
•  Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet, Jim Bell 
•  You Are the First Kid on Mars, Patrick O'Brien
•  Mars 3-D: A Rover's-Eye View of the Red Planet, Jim Bell
•  Mars (True Books: Space), Elaine Landau
•  Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet, Alexandra Siy

* Update on Curiosity's Mars Landing *

The Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on Mars August 6 (EDT), 2012, to turn the "7 Minutes of Terror: Land the Mars Curiosity" to "7 minutes of triumph."


Curiosity Snaps Picture of Its Shadow
This is one of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (morning of Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens on one of the rover's front Hazard-Avoidance cameras at one-quarter of full resolution. The camera is the left eye of a stereo pair positioned at the middle of the rover's front side.

The clear dust cover on the camera is still on in this view, and dust can be seen around its edge, along with three cover fasteners. The rover's shadow is visible in the foreground.

As planned, the rover's early engineering images are lower resolution. Larger color images are expected later in the week when the rover's mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Last updated: August 5, 2012

Alabama Course of Study

Grade: 4 (2005)
8.) Identify technological advances and other benefits of space exploration.
Examples: laser, pacemaker, dehydrated food, flame-retardant clothing, global positioning system (GPS), satellite imagery, global weather information, diagnostic imagery
•  Listing highlights of space exploration, including satellites, manned moon missions, the unmanned Mars mission, and an inhabited space station
•  Identifying Alabama's contribution to the space industry

Grade: 5
11.) Compare distances from the sun to planets in our solar system.
•  Relating the size of Earth to the size of other planets in our solar system
•  Identifying technology used to study planets
Examples: Hubble telescope, space probes, Mars Exploration Rover

More Episodes OF The Sun, The Moon and the Planets

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