Future Mars Missions and Societal Issues

Initial Publication Date: October 23, 2012


This learning module and related exercises will expose students the issues of space exploration and the other NASA-partnering agencies and institutions as well as private companies engaged in space-related technology. Students address socio scientific issues and apply the nature of science to real-world decisions regarding human space flight.

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Learning Goals

Students will be able to:
  • Become aware of NASA partnering agencies and private companies engaged in space-related technology.
  • Design a mission and experience the panel review/decision process.

Context for Use

This particular module does not apply any Earth analog approaches, but rather exposes students to the philosophy and ethics of privatized vs. government-funded research programs. Students practice with the realities of a cutting a budget in preparation for the Mission to Mars project.

Description and Teaching Materials

Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework

In-Class Activity


Teaching Notes and Tips

  • Homework 1 should be given prior to the Mission to Mars Project due date to give students experience.
  • Become aware of the issues yourself before engaging in a discussion with students regarding privatization.


Each In-Class Activity and Homework has its own measure of Assessment.

References and Resources