This week, students put on their engineering hats and became rocket scientists for a day. After a brief history of the exploration of Mars and a study of the different types of rovers that NASA has sent to Mars, students worked in teams to create their own landing equipment. Their mission, a competition among groups, was to safely land their “Egg Rovers” on the ground when dropped from atop a ladder.
Challenged to design rover landers with NASA’s 1990’s philosophy, FASTER BETTER CHEAPER, the teams were each given a $50 million dollar budget and 20 minutes to design and build their landers using materials such as balloons, straws, pipe cleaners, puffed rice cereal, tape and paper cups. The winners of the competition had to successfully land their Rover (unbroken egg) as well as stick to a tight budget and spend less money than their competitors.
All of the teams’ engineering designs were very creative and, regardless of the outcome, the students had a “smashing” good time while practicing their teamwork, planning, budgeting, and engineering skills!
This was our last visit of the semester. We wish you and your families happy holidays and look forward to returning in January!
If you have a minute, visit the NASA Mars rover website at: http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/home/index.html