NASA Might Send a Helicopter to Mars

Maneuvering the Curiosity Rover is a little more complicated than driving in a video game! NASA researchers use photos from the rover and satellites to determine the direction of travel, and slow-moving communication makes for a slow-moving rover. An episode of a solar system series explains to scholars the possibility of launching a helicopter drone from the rover, which comes with its own challenges.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • As an opener, ask pupils to give reasons why traveling to Mars would be important to scientists
  • Group the lesson with additional videos from the series to create a unit on interplanetary travel
Classroom Considerations

  • Expects a basic understanding of previous probe research
Pros

  • Incorporates actual images from the rover and satellites
  • Highlights key scientific principles throughout the discussion
Cons

  • None