In the news - Life on Mars?

The most sophisticated space probe ever built has successfully landed on Mars to begin its 98-week search for the “ingredients of life” on the red planet.

In the news: Teaching resources - 6 August

Is there life on Mars? Nasa expedition begins the search

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The most sophisticated space probe ever built has successfully landed on Mars to begin its 98-week search for the “ingredients of life” on the red planet.

The Mars rover Curiosity landed on the surface of the red planet at 6.32am BST to rapturous applause from Nasa scientists back on Earth.

The mission cost Nasa $2.5billion (around £1.6billion) and took engineers and scientists 10 years to prepare. It is hoped that Curiosity will build on findings from the 2004 Mars Exploration Rover mission; rovers Opportunity and Spirit found evidence that water might have once flowed over the surface of the planet, but both lacked the ability to detect life or hunt fossils.

Curiosity will now spend its time on Mars roaming the Gale Crater looking for evidence that Mars has, or did possess, the elements to sustain life – particularly water and vital minerals.

The mission has been keeping the public updated via a Twitter feed. Curiosity Rover announced its landing by declaring: “I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”

It was reported in last week’s TES that a new song by pop star, featuring the voices of school children from Enfield, will be beamed back from Mars as part of the mission.

Related resources

Calling all Mars explorers

  • Set your pupils a futuristic challenge with this rover vehicle-building project.

Design and build an egg-lander: mission to Mars

  • This cross-curricular exercise gets students using skills learned in science, maths and design technology to launch an egg safely into space and back.

La Vie sur Mars

  • Explore the red planet with this cross-curricular science and French project.

Solar System Math – Nasa

  • Investigate the solar system scientifically and mathematically to make an informed decision on which planet is best suited for human exploration.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

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London 2012 has opened with a week full of Olympic firsts for Team GB. While the first three days passed without a single gold for the host nation, the duck was finally broken by rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning.

The number of children labelled as having special educational needs (SEN) in England has fallen by almost 90,000 in just two years, official figures have revealed.

Anti-bullying charities have jumped to the defence of Team GB diving star and A-grade pupil Tom Daley after he found himself subject to a cyberbullying attack following his performance at London 2012.

School choir joins megastar on his mission to Mars.