Views and Missions in Space
This learning module compares early and recent missions to Mars as well as familiarizes students with a common instrument used in NASA mission payloads.
Students will be able to:
- Become familiar with mass spectroscopy, a common instrument aboard NASA missions
- Compare the Viking and MSL-Curiosity missions in terms of advances in technology
Context for Use
This learning module is meant for adaptation in an introductory earth science course and/or planetary science course. Students will only need prior basic knowledge of Mars to understand the significance of sophisticated technology.
Description and Teaching Materials
- In-Class Activity 1: Measuring the Tiny
- Homework 1: Viking vs. MSL-Curiosity
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Homework 1 may be used as an In-Class Activity if desired.
- If your institution has a mass spectrometer in-house, schedule a visit for the class to view the instrument. Most lab mass spectrometers are at least 10x's bigger than spectrometers used on rovers and/or satellites orbiting Mars.
Each In-Class Activity and Homework set has its own measure of assessment/evaluation.
References and Resources
- Image File: Views and Missions in Space (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.1MB Nov5 13)
- Mass Spectrometer YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L4U6ImYSj0
- Viking Mission Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggjD3i7efKU
- Curiosity Rover trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNVZ6cJYYcY
- MSL Curiosity 7 minutes of terror: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2I8AoB1xgU