Using Earth to Explore Mars

Comparative Planetology!
The fifth seminar in the JPL series, "Using Earth to Explore Mars", was held on Wednesday, March 14, 2007, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The presenters were Dr. Michael Meyer, Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters and Brian Grigsby, Assistant Director of the ASU Mars Education and Outreach Program at Arizona State University. Dr. Meyer used images to compare Earth with Mars and Mr. Grigsby provided an update of current and future NASA's missions to Mars.

Earth and Mars share similar features including volcanoes.

Sixty-one (61) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenters and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia. One participant joined the seminar from Puerto Rico.

In this presentation Dr. Michael Meyer used photos of features found on Earth and Mars to compare the planets. The images included volcanoes, canyons, deltas, polar regions, sand dunes, planet-wide dust storms, dust devils, gullies, etc. Some of the features on the Red Planet are truly spectacular, for example, Olympus Mons, an inactive volcano, is as big as the state of Arizona. Mariner Valley, a canyon on Mars, is as long as the United States is wide, approximately 3,000 miles! All participants received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide about the Solar System, grades 5-8.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
  • "Yet another fascinating look at Mars to share with students."
  • "I am developing courses on teaching methods and the way you went about presenting has given me much food for thought."
  • "I am doing a workshop for teachers on Mars in April and got some valuable information from this."
  • "Gave me an insight to the geologic features that are similar. I can use these with my students in order to relate our explorations of Mars to the features on Earth."

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!


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Underwritten by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory