Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Homework 1- Mission to Mars Student/Team Project

Mission to Mars- Student/Team Project

Homework 1_Space Issues

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


Have students catch a glimpse of how space missions are planned and operated, experience a decision panel, and gain confidence with public presentations.


  1. Provide students with this Project Guideline/Expectation sheet
  2. Choose a decision panel members and ask for their participation in advance.

Mission to Mars


  1. Pick or assign a team of at least 4 students beginning or mid-term/semester.
  2. Schedule Approval Date for Topic
  3. Mid-Point deadline: Teams submits outlines or project

Mission Elements*

*see Rubric for specifics

  • Mission Team & Qualifications/Partnering Agency
  • Presentation Clarity
  • Mission Objectives
  • Background
  • Scientific merit
  • Budget
  • Education and Outreach Plans (reaching the citizen scientist, K-12 audiences, under-represented groups, undergraduates etc.)
  • Citations
Presentation Length: 15-20 min or otherwise designated


Pick a panel of 3 persons to listen and critique students projects

  • Choose grad students or other faculty members to participate (other disciplines are favorable as well such as biology or physics; this promotes your class in other departments as well)
  • Panel members do not need to be the same for each class meeting where project presentations are given

Prepare and Print off critiquing rubrics for panel to utilize during presentations (see Resources in module shell: The Issues of Space Exploration)

  • Panel makes a decision (see Rubric)
  • For an outcome other than "Mission Panel Passed, Mission Approved for Implementation" Team must submit changes within 1 week of Panel Decision.