6th February 2004 at 00:00
KS3: prepare a travel brochure for Mars - in groups, students could study the photos back from Spirit and Opportunity and suggest facts about weather, temperature and radiation for tourists. Some idea of the journey times and exercises required on route to counteract the effect of microgravity would be useful.

KS4AS: use the proposal of sending people to Mars as a starting point for an ideas and evidence debate about the appropriate use of resources. Does natural curiosity and the search for life justify the billions that presumably could be spent elsewhere? What would be the impact for humankind of finding life outside our planet? It is suggested that the people who will land on Mars are alive and at school right now. How many in your class would volunteer and why? There are some good resources, including "Express to Mars" Teachers' Pack described on the PPARC (Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council) website, at link: which you can order online at: Beagle 2 might still make contact into February so keep in touch at its site:

and get all the photos and latest information on Spirit and Opportunity at: http:marsrovers.jpl.nasa.govhomeindex.html

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