Mars ExplorationMars exploration is making up a portion of the sort of news that children may well be fascinated by at the moment. There are a number of resources made specifically for children and the young!

Big Deal Media’s Newsletter tells of a free augmented reality app called Mission to Mars for the iPad: “The Mission to Mars appoffers seven experiences, starting with an overview of Martian geography. Students can spin the globe floating in front of them to inspect—or read short blurbs about—the planet’s frozen polar caps and vast canyons. The gamified experience lets students guide Perseverance through its “seven minutes of terror”—NASA’s semiofficial term for a Mars landing—by timing the parachute deployment and retro-rocket firing. Students can then guide the rover from rock to rock, zapping the rocks with a laser to analyze their contents while being careful not to crash or get stuck in the sand. They can even fly the small Ingenuity helicopter stowed on Perseverance.” (Big Deal Media)

The app also includes short video clips about the planet and it is intended that in the future real life footage from the planet’s surface will be included.

Portal to Mars is a similar app for android devices. “With Perseverance now on Mars, take an up-close interactive look at this and other rovers that paved the way. You can even drive one down your street.

From the treacherous landing attempt to the flight of the first interplanetary helicopter, this app brings the mission to life through augmented reality experiences grounded in real equipment and events. Engaging, informative and fun, this is the best way to explore Mars without going there yourself! Download for free.” (Portal to Mars)

The following seven activities seem to be the same for both apps:

  • MEET THE ROVERS – Get an interactive look at rover design, the camera, the scientific tools incorporated as well as the development of the design over time.
  • DRIVE THE ROVERS – Drive the Rover around and take photos.
  • MARS OVERVIEW – Study the planet from all angles.
  • LAUNCH THE ROCKET – Launch the Atlas V rocket from your own back garden with original audio.
  • Walk through the MARS PORTAL – visit the surface of Mars to see Perseverance working, and visit the future to explore an imaginary human settlement.
  • 7 MINUTES OF TERROR – Control the landing sequence yourself and see if you can do better than the robot.
  • MISSIONS ON MARS – Play the Perseverance missions on the surface. Drive around hazards to complete different objectives – including flying the helicopter Ingenuity.

Mars Exploration

The Mars Exploration videos, footage and images included seem to all come from the Smithsonian Museum: “The app also features an array of Mars images, quizzes, and video clips from the Smithsonian Channel documentary MAKING TRACKS ON MARS.