A unique eight-person team of educators, designated as Crew 217, completed its one-week crew simulation yesterday at the Mars Society’s Utah-based Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), the largest and longest-running Mars analog facility in the world.
Funded by the Utah NASA Space Grant Consortium, the NASA Spaceward Bound Utah program serves as a workshop for K-12 teachers to conduct field science under astronaut simulation conditions. This inaugural crew consisted of middle school teachers from Utah, Colorado and Connecticut and was led by Dr. Shannon Rupert, the program’s principle investigator and MDRS director, and Hope Jennings Zubrin, a master teacher.
session was designed to give educators insight into how to integrate the real
science that future human explorers on Mars will need with classroom-based activities
that adhere to current curricula standards and improve student outcomes. “Our focus
is on in situ experiences that can be replicated in a classroom and allow
students to carry out experiments that will be done on the Red Planet,” said
year’s crew focused on a variety of self-defined projects, including:
Sharing of Mars and space-related classroom activities,
Conducting a biodiversity survey of ephemeral potholes in a Mars analog,