This centre is a unique facility that provides students with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be an astronaut and conduct scientific research on the surface of Mars.
The day began with a briefing on the mission objectives, which included collecting soil and rock samples, drilling an ice core, conducting a thermal survey, and measuring seismic activity. Students were then divided into teams and assigned different roles such as astronauts, mission controllers, and research scientists. They were provided with specially designed spacesuits and equipment and instructed on how to use them safely.
The excitement was palpable as students stepped into the airlock and de-pressurised before stepping out onto the Martian surface. They worked together as a team to collect samples and conduct experiments, with mission controllers communicating with the astronauts via radio to ensure their safety and the success of the mission.
Back on Earth, students analysed their samples and conducted further scientific investigations in the laboratory. They used their knowledge and understanding of astrophysics to interpret their findings and reflect on the impacts of science. The excursion provided an opportunity for students to use their critical thinking, social, and communication skills to work collaboratively and problem-solve as a team.
The VSSEC Educators were impressed with the student’s engagement and collaboration throughout the day, noting that it was a highlight of the afternoon ‘Research Laboratory’ session as well as the morning ‘Mission Control’ and ‘Astronauts on Mars’ sessions. The excursion provided an excellent opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of space exploration and to reflect on the impact of scientific discoveries.