Mission to Mars: Grade schoolers tackle the red planet at UH


Annual competition showcases Mars Rover models

HOUSTON, Jan. 20, 2005 Toxic soil and radiation are no challenge for the grade schoolers who invade the University of Houston each year for the citywide finals of the Mars Rover Model Competition.

Houston-area primary (grades three through five) and middle school (grades six through eight) students who've built homemade vehicles to withstand and explore the surface of the Red Planet will converge on campus noon to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 22, for the event, which is open to the public.

A workshop to prepare teachers for coaching their students through the planning and completion of operational Mars Rover models was held at UH earlier this fall. Students were given six-weeks of classroom-learning and homework projects about Mars, with design criteria for their rovers that required them to do basic research for designing and constructing a model of a Mars Rover to carry out a specific science mission on the surface of Mars.

The best three teams from more than 25 Houston-area schools will present their creations constructed mostly out of found objects and simple art supplies, costing a maximum of $25. With approximately 260 students attending, 85 Mars Rover models will be on display at the competition.

The competition, which puts a fresh face on space exploration to excite a new generation of scientists and engineers, is part of the education and public outreach component of the World Space Congress that is made up of the world's space community to chart new directions for humanity's next decade in space.

Mars Rover Model Competition

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2005
Noon to 5:30 p.m.

University of Houston
University Center Houston Room
Off Calhoun Road, Entrance 1

Source: Eurekalert & others

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