Teach the Earth > Discoveries from Mars > Activities and Assignments > MER (Mars Exploration Rover ) Landing Site Selection

MER (Mars Exploration Rover) Landing Site Selection

Eric B. Grosfils
Geology Department, Pomona College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 10, 2006


Via a jigsaw role-playing exercise in which students become geologists, astrobiologists and engineers, real data and available constrains are used to identify landing sites for the MER rovers. A debate format is then used to select two landing sites. NOTE: a similar exercise can be developed for future missions.

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Introductory Physical Geology course

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I use this as the final lab for my course, and the more students know about Mars before beginning the lab the better, but no explicit knowledge other than what gets provided within the lab is required – except that students must be able to interpret image and topography data.

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