Quest TO MARS: Henryville students build Mars rovers
Quest TO MARS: Henryville students build Mars rovers

HENRYVILLE – NASA’s latest quest to Mars is providing a distinctive experience for Henryville Students to learn about what must be done to produce a rover successful on the red entire world, which educators say they desire can help inspire students toward future employment opportunities.

Students in professor Donna Gatza’s Biology classes are spending eight weeks with their 18-week semester on some jobs related to the Mars rover Determination, which launched July 30 and landed Feb. 21 in the Jezero Crater on Mars. The mission’s aim is to get signs of early life and accumulate rock and ground samples, possibly to take back to Earth.

“NASA has provided a myriad of incredible activities for the youngsters to learn hands-on, to come in contact with different opportunities, to be experienced to various things,” Gatza said. “Until this happened, just how many people knew there was something called Astrobiology? It’s important to get the youngsters excited about something and out of their books.”

The lesson plans and activities have included students building their own rovers. Employed in groups, they selected the scale and type of materials (created from dried pasta) based on their budget, then designed and built the rovers using an iphone app on their Chromebooks.

“[They] had to choose a kick off system, there is budget in this and everything has a cost,” the teacher said. “So that they had to create their entire mission predicated on what that they had a cover. And then there have been some funky things like they overlooked a launch date, the government trim their funding – the things that really happen.”

On Fri, the groups in each category tested their finished rovers, measuring the distance reached from launch – in cases like this, pulled by gravity down a ramp in the classroom.

Kyra Robinson, an associate of the being successful team from Gatza’s fourth-period category, said she and her team worked to make the rover heavier so that it would grab more quickness, “nevertheless, you also have to add a camera,” she said.

Another university student, Caleb Horter, said he found that what switches into making a rover is much less simple as you might think.

“It takes a lot to make a rover – it’s much harder than it appears,” he said.

Gatza, that has a qualifications in manufacturing executive, said it was nice to watch the students focus on the project, which mirrors the actual objective.

“If they designed…they sat as technicians and technicians and decided what they wanted in their quest and then they had to fit it in their budget,” she said. “They had to work together…the collaboration has been incredible.”

Henryville Primary Leah Seng said she was thrilled for the NASA relationship, which gives a lot of creative learning opportunities. The business has been providing the plans and schematics for design, but it’s kind of the bigger thing than ‘NASA is going to send you some products and you’re heading to acquire soma data,’” she said.

Longer-term, Seng said she’d like to see cooperation between different course disciplines, and incorporation of the new creation path the institution is developing.

“We [would] focus on our processing pathway…they use the blueprints to design the pieces our students need and then in the other classes, the students use the designed pieces our very own kids designed to build their projects,” Seng said.

“The finish game is good for our very own students to understand how to learn schematics and blueprints, design and then use those materials, so we’re incredibly excited about that.”

In Gatza’s classes, the ultimate phase is remote programming – using the 3-D rover model, students will be designing a computer game with a Mars rover that goes out and picks up samples.