Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > In-Class Activity 1- Manned Space-Flight: Is it needful?

Manned Space-Flight: Is it needed?

In-Class Activity 1_Space Issues

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics


Discuss the issues surrounding manned-space flight and the future of space flight. You may also use the Statement to a Congressman/woman as homework for the in-class discussion.


  1. Disseminate copies of news articles and/or NASA goals for students to discuss in groups or...
  2. Summarize points of each article in a PowerPoint presentation for discussion.



Engage students by asking what they think about space flight. Should the U.S. be involved in space exploration? What is the benefit? Should we do more than we are doing? What are the ethical questions? What is their knowledge about NASA missions?

Then Poll students on whether or not manned-space flight is a good idea

  1. What is the reason for their choice?
  2. What is the history of space flight? (utilize NASA interactive timelines on the history of spaceflight such as those below):


Manned-Space Flight Discussion in the News


  1. Review NASA Human Space Flight Goals:
  2. Review NASA roadmap for Astrobiology:
    • What points do students believe are important?
    • What aspects did they not expect?


Space X Plans to put man on Mars in 10 years


Statement to a Congressman/woman

Ask students to prepare a 2-page statement to a Congressman/woman recommending or declining space flight using NASA published goals and/or other publicly announced space flight goals.

  1. Have students identify a real and acting member of Congress and write letter/statement accordingly.
  2. Students must cite publications that support their recommendation
  3. Review student recommendations to Congress for understanding of current NASA goals.