Collage of images and graphics of Mars and Mars missions

Special Event – Register by Feb. 18!

Lead students in designing and building a mission to Mars with a guided education plan and resources from NASA, join in live stream Q&As with experts, and share student work with a worldwide audience. Register your class, school, education group, or family to take part in the Mission to Mars Student Challenge at the link below:

Overview

In this standards-aligned unit, students learn about Mars, design a mission to explore the planet, build and test model spacecraft and components, and engage in scientific exploration. The unit takes students through seven stages, including learning about the planet, planning the mission, designing the spacecraft, launching, landing, surface operations, and sample handling.

Materials

Management

  • The lessons and activities below are organized in each section by grade level. They can be completed in whole or part, and in any sequence.
  • Most lessons are best completed by pairs or teams of students.
  • Some lessons are also available as independent projects for students. The student version can be found at the link directly below the lesson info. 

Background

Ever wanted to take your students on an exciting journey? What if you could take that journey from the comfort of the classroom or out-of-school learning environment? Welcome to Mission to Mars!

Over the course of these lessons, you and your students will learn about and plan a mission to Mars. Your students will apply their creativity and science and math knowledge to explore the Red Planet. Not a scientist or engineer? That's okay! You're going to learn everything you need to know while preparing for and conducting these lessons. And you actually already have some engineering skills, whether you know it or not.

Ready, set, let's go!

Procedures


1. Learn About Mars

Students learn about Mars by watching short videos and engaging in mathematics and art activities.

Educator Guides

Student Projects

Student Articles

Student Videos

2. Plan Your Mission

Students engage in the engineering design process to plan a mission to Mars.

Educator Guides

Student Videos

3. Design Your Spacecraft

Now that a mission has been planned, students learn about and build spacecraft, including satellites and rovers, as well as a robotic arm.

Educator Guides

Student Projects

Student Videos

Student Articles

4. Launch Your Mission

Students learn through the engineering design process what it takes to launch a spacecraft.

Educator Guides

Student Projects

Student Articles

5. Land on Mars

Students use the engineering design process to design landing systems that will enable their spacecraft to land softly on the Mars surface.

Educator Guides

Student Projects

Student Videos

6. Surface Operations

Once their spacecraft has landed safely, students are challenged to learn about spacecraft communication, energy management on Mars, surface features and life science.

Extensions