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.>
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
Within each Planet Team, the students must assume roles to
accomplish the rescue. The jobs for each Planet Team
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:
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
- Words = Greek symbols
- Each letter = Circular symbols
- Words = Math equations [for example: (3 x 4) was
(10 + 10)]
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.
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 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
Working together, the teams must locate the lost ship
and rescue the astronauts.