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A note to teachers… Activity Description In this activity your pupils will learn more about the Curiosity Mars rover and apply that knowledge to think.

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Presentation on theme: "A note to teachers… Activity Description In this activity your pupils will learn more about the Curiosity Mars rover and apply that knowledge to think."— Presentation transcript:

1 A note to teachers… Activity Description In this activity your pupils will learn more about the Curiosity Mars rover and apply that knowledge to think about, plan or design their own Mars rover. The presentation is designed to be teacher-led, with opportunities for group discussion and/or individual work. The presentation contains a mix of technical facts about Curiosity, along with linked YouTube videos showcasing some of the scientists and engineers who are working on the mission. Learning Objectives To consider the various parts of a Mars rover and the tasks they need to be able to perform. To work in groups or individually to design a future Mars rover. Learning Outcomes A description, report, poster, presentation, plan or model of a Mars rover. Please note… Before you begin this activity, we recommend you familiarise yourself with it. This presentation contains differentiated elements for both KS2 and KS3 pupils. You are free to remove parts, edit or add to this presentation as you see fit, to tailor it to your class. We hope your class finds this activity interesting and useful. Should you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to send it to us. Thanks! - The Jodrell Bank education team

2 After-workshopactivity Mars Rover Challenge Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

3 What you did... In the Mars Rover Challenge workshop you built your own device to safely land your “rover” onto the surface of Mars.

4 Here’s an animation of the real nail-biting landing of the Curiosity rover in August 2012, mixed with real shots from the NASA control room. You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9hXqzkH7YAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9hXqzkH7YA

5 What we are going to do now... In this activity, we’re going to learn more about the different parts of the Curiosity Mars rover and what they do. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

6 How we are going to do it... Either discussing in groups or working individually, you are going to think about the different parts of the Curiosity Mars Rover. As we go, you’ll be asked to plan your own Mars rover mission. You may want to write your ideas down, construct a poster, or even draw and design the different parts of your rover!

7 Starter task Come up with a list of... All the things a Mars rover needs to be able to do. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

8 A Mars rover must be able to... Move Take pictures Test samples of rock Power itself Keep itself warm Work in lots of dust Drive over bumpy terrain Receive commands or decide what to do Send findings to scientists on Earth Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS Here are some of the things you could have come up with (but you may have some more!)

9 In order to do these things a rover must have… A body (a structure that protects the rovers´ various parts) Propulsion (a way to move around) Brains (a computer to process information) Eyes and other senses (cameras and instruments that give the rover information about its surroundings) An energy supply (a power source and batteries) Communications equipment (a way to “speak” and “listen” to people on Earth) We’ll look at each of these parts in turn!

10 Part 1: The body Questions we will consider in this section... How big will your rover be? What will the body be like on your rover? Why? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

11 Some Curiosity size facts… Length: 3 metres Width: 2.7 metres Height: 2.2 metres Mass: 899 kilograms Curiosity is the largest robot we have ever sent to Mars! Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

12 Can you think of any advantages and disadvantages of having a large rover? Here are some you might have come up with (but you may have some more…) Advantages Can travel more Easier to drive over rocks and sand Can have more science instruments Disadvantages Needs more power More expensive More difficult to launch and land

13 About Curiosity’s body… Curiosity’s body is a hard, insulated cover which protects its sensitive equipment and computer from the Martian dust and cold. It’s body is high off the ground so it doesn’t get stuck on any rocks. Some instruments stick out of the body, such as the camera and arm, so they can collect information. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

14 Think and discuss… How big will your rover be? What will the body be like on your rover? Why? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

15 Part 2: Propulsion Question we will consider in this section... How will your rover move around Mars? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

16 About Curiosity’s propulsion… Curiosity drives on six wheels. Each wheel has its own motor, so if one breaks, the others can still work. The wheels have grooves, like shoes do, so Curiosity can grip on the dusty surface. Curiosity has a suspension system. This means if one side goes up (e.g. over a rock), the other side will automatically go down, to spread the weight out. Otherwise Curiosity might topple over! Curiosity has a top speed of about 4 centimetres per second. Is that faster or slower than you expected? Image credit: NASA Dryden/Tom Tschida

17 But rovers don’t have to have wheels! Here’s an idea for rovers that might be blown around Mars in the future! You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JQyPKLCYPQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JQyPKLCYPQ

18 Think and discuss… How will your rover move around Mars? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

19 Part 3: Brains Question we will consider in this section... How will you make sure your rover’s computer stays safe and stays working? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

20 About Curiosity’s computer… Curiosity’s “brains” aren’t in its head – they’re in it’s body, where they are protected. Curiosity’s computer is shielded from the high radiation that’s on Mars. Ordinary computers would break. The Curiosity rover has only 2.25 GB of memory (RAM). That’s much less than laptops you can buy in the shops! Curiosity has a backup computer, in case the first one fails.

21 About Curiosity’s computer… Curiosity’s computer is vital. It is needed to control all of its functions, such as… o Checking Curiosity’s systems, to make sure they are working properly o Recording data and transmitting it correctly o Interpreting commands from scientists on Earth o Curiosity also has an “AutoNav” feature, which allows it to calculate the best route to a location and then drive there automatically.

22 This video explains more about how Curiosity’s computer is needed for it to drive around Mars… You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser:

23 Think and discuss… How will you make sure your rover’s computer stays safe and stays working? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Cornell Univ./ Arizona State Univ.

24 Part 4: Eyes and other senses Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Question we will consider in this section... What will your rover be trying to find out? What equipment will it have to find this out?

25 About Curiosity’s mission… Curiosity is investigating the rocks and sand on Mars, to see what Mars is made of. This will also give us clues about what Mars used to be like in the past. In order to do this, Curiosity has many instruments such as… o Lots of cameras to look at the rocks and sand o A laser to burn rocks, to see what they’re made of o A drill and scoop, to pick up samples and test them inside Curiosity Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

26 In October 2012, Curiosity started scooping up samples and testing them for the first time. NASA scientist Betina Pavri tells us more… You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser:

27 Think and discuss… What will your rover be trying to find out? What equipment will it have to find this out? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

28 Part 5: Power Question we will consider in this section... What will power your rover? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

29 About Curiosity’s power… Space missions cannot use petrol, or any other fuel that burns. Can you think why not? Previous Mars rovers (such as Spirit and Opportunity in 2004) have used solar panels. These collect energy from sunlight and change it into electricity. Solar panels are lightweight and renewable (the energy supply does not run out) but they don’t produce much power. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

30 About Curiosity’s power… Unfortunately, Mars is very dusty. This dust can cover solar panels, stopping them from working as well. Also, Curiosity is much larger than Spirit or Opportunity, so it needs much more power. Instead of solar panels, Curiosity is powered by a small nuclear reactor, which generates heat and electricity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

31 About Curiosity’s power… Using nuclear power is much heavier than using solar panels. Also, nuclear power is dangerous to humans, so you have to be careful before launch. Finally, Curiosity’s nuclear fuel will eventually run out after a few years. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

32 Here’s NASA scientist Ashwin Vasavada telling us more about Curiosity’s power source… You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser:

33 Think and discuss… What will power your rover? Why have you chosen this power source? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

34 Final Part: Communications Question we will consider in this section... How will your rover communicate with Earth? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

35 About Curiosity’s communications… Did you know, because Mars is so far away from Earth, it takes about 5 minutes for a signal to travel between them? Curiosity has three antennas which can send and receive signals (two are shown on this picture). Having three antennas means there are back-ups in case one or two break. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

36 About Curiosity’s communications… The first antenna is an Ultra-High-Frequency antenna. This doesn’t transmit directly to Earth, but to two satellites that are in orbit around Mars. These satellites act as a ‘go-between’ between Curiosity and Earth. Since the satellites are in space, they can send signals to Earth for longer and at a faster rate than Curiosity can. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

37 About Curiosity’s communications… Curiosity’s second antenna is a high-gain antenna which can be pointed to send signals directly at Earth. It is so accurate, it can be aimed at any antenna at Earth! Using an antenna that can move means Curiosity doesn’t have to turn its whole body around to point at Earth! Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

38 About Curiosity’s communications… Curiosity’s final antenna is a low-gain antenna. This works no matter which way it is pointing and is strong enough to send signals that can be picked up on Earth. Unfortunately, it can only transmit data at a very low rate. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA uses this dish in California and others like it to communicate with Curiosity and other spacecraft!

39 But no matter how strong your antennae are, if the Sun gets in the way, it’s impossible to communicate with Mars! You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser:

40 Think and discuss… How will your rover communicate with Earth? Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

41 Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS You have now finished planning your rover mission to Mars! This activity has been made by Jodrell Bank, with information from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. Visit their site for loads more about Curiosity! mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mslmars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ Well done! How long do you think your rover would last on Mars? Click onto the next slide to see how Curiosity was doing after 1 Mars year…

42 On 23 rd June 2014, Curiosity had been on Mars for 687 days. That’s one full Martian year! Here’s an overview of its first Mars year… You must be connected to the internet for this video to play. If it is still not playing, click the link below or copy & paste the address into your web browser:


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