Robotics Engineering: Big Toys, Big Fun
All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions

This Web Seminar was developed in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Arizona State University’s (ASU) Mars Education Program. The event took place on November 29, 2007, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The presenter was Kobie Boykins, Mechanical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Mr. Boykins gave the audience a "behind the scenes" look of what it was like to build the twin rovers that are still driving across the surface of Mars.

The Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, arrived at Mars in 2004. While at Mars, the robots have traveled over 4 miles (each), exploring the Red planet. Much work took place, including some failures, in the design and development of these machines. The presenter shared many images of the Red planet taken by the rovers.

Thirty-nine (39) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter, the moderator, and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. One participant attended the program from Colombia. All participants received a one year subscription to an NSTA SciGuide for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "I really enjoyed seeing the timeline of Mars exploration efforts.”

  • “It's great to hear about the Mars missions from scientists actually involved.
    The pictures are excellent. I was especially intrigued by the size comparison
    of Sojourner and Spirit... amazing that they both utilized same size lander!”

  • “Loved the behind the scene info from JPL.”

  • “The presenter was very excited about the topic and added a lot of emotion
    to it.”

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


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Underwritten by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory