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Transcript: NASA Curiosity Mars Rover Landing Event: Imagine Mars

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Gay Yee-Hill: Now let's meet a group that's already been inspired by taking part in one of NASA's education programs. This one is called, 'Imagine Mars.' It's a hands-on experience where students use 21st century skills and their imaginations to answer a challenging question: What would it take to live on Mars?

David Delgado: The big problem that we're all facing today is that the United States is falling behind other countries in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and it's a big problem, so the question is what do we do? Our solution that we have is a project called Imagine Mars, where we ask students to imagine and design a community on the planet Mars.

Student: Our area is Arabia Terra and the reason in which we chose it is that it's a flat surface, it's like a valley.

Student: This is my habitat on Mars, but first we have the map here so pretty much explaining what our position is and our purpose of setting up. So right here is a place called Hellas Planitia and it's like the lowest surface on Mars.

Pamela Greyer: Why did you guys choose that particular location on Mars to put your community?

Student: Well, since we're on Mars and it's far away from the sun, we want to try and get as much sunlight and heat as we can.

David: Imagine Mars fits in to this process called project-based learning. That means that we give students a task that they need to achieve. And in order to achieve that task, they need to learn things along the way. The task that we're giving them is they need build a community on Mars.

Student: If we're going to another planet, we might as well start fresh and yeah, healthier.

Student: That's where I come in because I am the head of botany and agriculture and I just, I'm in charge of like the plants and what we're going to eat, our nutrition plans, which we won't be eating meat, you know, we're going to be healthier on Mars.

David: They started on this process, this exploration process, to look into their own community, figure out the things they liked about it and the things they would change and they worked with architects, took tours of these amazing places like the Center for Green Technology and they saw how green technology was being used throughout the city. And the students had amazing ideas, they created a lot of solutions to living on the planet Mars, but it didn't end there. They had to visualize those ideas using 3-D architectural software. And they only had a short time to do it, but their energy and their excitement about their ideas really gave them momentum to learn this software. And they went from not ever having touched or used this software before to coming up with these amazing designs that we see in this project.

Rose Mabwa: This was exciting. This was something to do for summer that wouldn't have happened without Imagine Mars. And it was something that they can go back to school and report during this summer, this is what I did and they can write a paper on it and they can apply the knowledge straight into the classroom, which is really great because it emphasizes as I say before careers that wouldn't normally be exposed to kids, technology, science and all the other careers. And the kids now I talk to them about being architects, some of them being doctors, some of them being scientists themselves or engineers. So it's really just a great career opening. If you look at their project and the amount of time that they actually were working with this software, there is a major transformation in their knowledge and in their skills and it just goes to show you what can happen when you give students a unique and engaging opportunity to learn.