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Project Information

Placeholder image for the Livingston Robotics Club Imagine Mars project
Livingston Robotics Club Imagine Mars
Livingston Robotics Club image for project 'Livingston Robotics Club Imagine Mars'
Livingston, NJ    07039

Grade Level: Other
Time Spent on Project: 1 session
Number of Participants: > 100
Type of Project: Design Arts

Project Description

Livingston Robotics Clubs Imagine Mars project was part of the Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo on May 29, 2010 which was a robotics exhibition by student teams (ages 6 – 9) with two neighborhood teams from Livingston/East Hanover, NJ area, two teams from students who took Kidz Klub after-school class at Harrison Elementary school in Livingston, and a team from Cedar Grove, NJ area. There were also exhibition from student robotics teams (Landriods, Landrias, and Lancer).

The Imagine Mars project presented children with 3D images from Mars rovers, sample of Martian soil stimulant, the generated sound of the Spirit rover during its mission on Mars, and a model of the Curiosity rover on a simulated surface of Mars built by Landrias. Children created their artwork to design a transportation system of a futuristic community on Mars and put their artwork up on an art exhibition.

One of the highlights was the live Webinar with an engineer from NASA’s JPL. Ravi Prakash, who is working on the landing system of the next Mars rover, presented the design of the landing system for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers which are currently on Mars, and the new design for the Curiosity rover to be launched in 2011. Prakash threw in a bonus by showing a rarely-seen live feed of the test rover that engineers have been using to test different ways to free the Spirit rover. Another rarely-seen live feed shown was the test model of the Curiosity rover that is used by engineers to perform testing to make sure that the electronics work and that many of the different parts of the rover move correctly. Many children and adults were engaged in the video conference. Some children had a chance to ask many questions related to Mars and space exploration.

QuickTime Video Clip

Lessons Learned

The idea of implementing Imagine Mars in Livingston, NJ was started when a volunteer who was a coach of the Kidz Klub LEGO Robotics teams in Harrison Elementary School wanted to find additional outside activities for the students. Livingston Robotics Club contacted Imagine Mars support team to run the idea of a one-day event by them. The support has been overwhelming and more ideas came out from the staff at JPL. The decision was made that it would be more exciting for children to have an interactive exhibition. Therefore, all of interactive elements such as 3D images, generated sound from the Spirit rover, and live video conference were put in the plan.

The information in the Planet Mars Multimedia page of the Imagine Mars Discover Mars page such as “Mars 101” is very useful for the exhibition to provide details about Mars and Earth comparison. Other resources are available on NASA websites.

Students were able to relate science, engineering, technology and art in one project.

Advanced planning and collaboration with JPL staff is proven to be the key to the success.