February is shaping up to be quite a significant month for NASA, as that is when the organisation will attempt to land the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. Leading up to that significant day, which is scheduled to take place on February 18, NASA is urging students around the world to join in on the ‘Mars Student Challenge’.
The Mars Student Challenge will see students from informal education groups, families, and individuals attempt to design, build, and land their very own spacecraft. NASA hopes that by getting students to create their own concept spacecraft, they will one day become the next generation of NASA scientists and engineers.
“We want to reach every classroom in America and beyond with the Mission to Mars Student Challenge. We want to share not just the thrills of the Mars 2020 Perseverance landing itself but also of what goes into making achievements like these possible,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
As part of the challenge, students will be given the chance to take part in a number of NASA related activities.
-Video conversations with mission scientists and engineers highlighting how their work relates to what students are learning,
-Opportunities to participate in Q&As with mission experts and to submit student questions and work that could be featured during NASA broadcasts leading up to and on landing day,
-Opportunities to code your own Mars-exploration games.
“The Mission to Mars Student Challenge provides a fun and engaging way for students everywhere to get excited and learn about this momentous landing on Mars and join NASA as we land on the Red Planet,” said Ota Lutz, who leads the STEM Elementary and Secondary Education Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“The challenge will feature fun and engaging activities for younger and older students who will have an opportunity to ask questions of NASA experts and have their work shared with a worldwide audience,” Lutz added.