Brief Description of the Site:
With exploration of Mars, the Red Planet, a fact, NASA has had to create a special site just to provide Mars exploration updates. There has been so much traffic on NASA's sites that this one is just for those hooked on Mars. As NASA's official Mars site there is new information and photographs constantly appearing as a result of Spirit's ongoing photographic transmissions. (Spirit, for those who don't recognize the name, is the name of the rover that is to conduct analysis of the Mars soil. Its partner is Opportunity, slated to explore a different area of the Red Planet. As photographs come in, NASA posts them making these stunning images available as an online resource. There are different links for kids, students, educators and press. (There are separate links for students and "kids".) NASA offers more than different images and descriptions about Mars. They have animations of Mars and of Spirit. The website also tells you about different projects scientists conducted. The descriptions of Mars are reasonable in that kids can understand them and the explanations are accompanied by activities that you can do to learn more about Mars. The website gives an overview and features of the planet. They give programs to explore and there is a data team. The games are a great deal of fun, but you'll have to set your computer to accept popups, which is the how the animations appear.
How to use the site:
Children will love the Mars for Kids link. If you click on Mars for Kids, the popup brings the player the inside of a spaceship. For Space Educators this site has more than enough information than one can use for an entire year, and more information continues to come in daily. In addition to the links for kids, students, educators, and the press, there are links to the Overview, Science, Technology, The Mission, Features, Events, and Multimedia. The Mars Games are so much fun that students will have no trouble convincing adults that playing and learning can take place simultaneously. The good news is that there are enough games to keep the kids returning, including one in which one has to collect rocks from Mars, not unlike the objective of the rover, Spirit. Mars for Students offers information about a data team and an interns program, for those considering careers in space science. The link for Mars for Educators includes a Mars Activity Book in .pdf format (Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free to open this file.) with far more information that one class can master within a year. There's a Mars Student Imaging Project, an "Imagine Mars Through Arts, Letters and Humanities", and free posters. Then there are links to different aspects of robotics and numerous projects and workshops. Mars for Press offers the latest releases as well as an archive, facts, press kits and high-resolution images. This site is pretty close to endless in the information it offers, and is a must to bookmark because it is so amazing. NASA's mission has captured the imagination of a nation, and to its credit, so does this site.
Edited by David Wang
Student, PS 56Q