Follow this link to skip to the main content
Image of Mars, its two moons, and the mysterious face on Mars.
 Button that takes you to the Overview section.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Toolkit section.Button that takes you to the Student Materials section.Button that takes you to the Mission Day section.
Home

Overview of Teams
Transmissions Specialist Navigation Specialist Cargo Specialist Communications Team Student’s Place
Glossary
Overview of Teams

A Rescue Mission

The year is 2080 and NASA has permanent research bases on both the Moon and Mars. From these bases astronaut scientists can study stars and planets and continue to search for possible life outside Earth.

Exploration vessels routinely take off from the Moon and Mars to conduct research. Flybys of planets and moons yield valuable information and will tell us if the establishment of more research stations is possible. The exploration missions also look for and track any comets, asteroids, or meteoroids which may potentially harm the Earth or our bases.>

The Mission

On Mission Day, students are in Mars Mission Control anxiously awaiting the arrival of a space ship that is launching from the lunar base. The space ship is on a rescue mission. It has been five days since a research vessel exploring the outer regions of our solar system has checked in with the Mars base. It is thought to be lost or having communication problems. The rescue ship just launched from the Moon will hopefully bring the two astronaut crew back to the Mars station safely. The rescue ship will have to stop at the Mars base to pick up the supplies needed for the rescue of the astronauts and for the trip back to Mars.

You have a lot to do before the rescue ship arrives at the Mars station. You and your classmates will be divided into teams to work more effectively on the rescue. The teams are based on the five planets in our outer solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, with an additional team working to communicate the results of the team work directly to Earth Mission Control.

Within each Planet Team, the students must assume roles to accomplish the rescue. The jobs for each Planet Team are:

Transmissions Specialists: receive information from near their planet about where the lost ship has been each day. The information is encoded and they must decode it using:

  1. Words = Greek symbols
  2. Each letter = Circular symbols
  3. Words = Math equations [for example: (3 x 4) was (10 + 10)]
They complete a problem-solving chart to track where the ship has been spotted each day Monday through Friday and help predict the location of the lost ship for rescue.

Navigation Specialists plot the location of each planet on an X-Y coordinate plane. They also must plot the location of solar system “Unknowns” and the course of the ship over the last five days.

Cargo Specialists calculate the cargo needed for a rescue trip to their planet. The cargo needed includes food, water, and oxygen for the two astronauts on the trip out to rescue the two lost astronauts and for all astronauts on the return trip. They must also calculate the number of packing crates necessary to pack the supplies.

The Communications Team relays vital information to Earth Mission Control throughout the rescue attempt. The team members must gather information and data from all teams and communicate the information effectively to ensure a coordinated rescue effort.

Each team receives the data they need on the team’s data computer. Each specialist receives three sets of information. Final calculations are recorded on a main data board at the front of the room.

Working together, the teams must locate the lost ship and rescue the astronauts.

Good luck on your mission! The astronauts on the lost ship are counting on you!

Image that takes you to Computer Associate's Website.

The Challenger Learning Center’s innovative program for digital learning, the e-Mission™, provides teachers with curriculum aligned with state and national standards and a mission conducted via distance learning. e-Missions are designed around best practice models and principles derived from the latest educational research.

Privacy Statement and Copyright 1997-2005 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved.

Image of e-Mission: Moon, Mars, and Beyond Logo that takes you to the home page. Button that takes you to the Student's Place.