Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
**NOTE: During July there will be no challenge questions.**
In the six weeks leading up to each live television broadcast, we
will have a weekly Challenge Question to get your brain cells firing.
You are invited to send original student answers to us. We will list
the names of these folks online, and token prizes will be given out to
a small number of the students with the best answers.
Question #6: Answer due by midnight PDT, May 1, l997
What five features make Mars most like Earth? And, what
five features make Mars most unlike Earth?
We hope students will come up with some geologically correct
answers, but also with some clever, provocative and tongue-in-
- atmosphere: though Mars' is much thinner than Earth's
- weather: Mars has frost, clouds, but in the current epoch no
- channels that seem to have been carved by running water
- Grand Canyon and Vallis Marineris
- Earthquakes and Marsquakes
- impact craters
- night and day
- fossil evidence of past life (this will only be accepted if students
say it's "definite" for Earth, "possible" for Mars, reflecting continuing
scientific debate about what the features in ALH 84001 really mean!). See
- liquid water
- plate tectonics: though there are Marsquakes, the mighty volcanoes
show that the crust has sat over long-lived lava hot spots, rather than
riding over them, and forming features like the chain of islands we know
- no ozone layer on Mars protecting the surface
- no large, surface life (plants/animals) on Mars compared to Earth
- Mars' day and year are longer than Earth's
- Vallis Marineris was formed by rifting, not carved by a river, as was
the Grand Canyon
- fossil evidence of past life (but this will only be accepted if
students say it's "definite" for Earth, "possible" for Mars, reflecting
continuing scientific debate about what the features in ALH 84001
really mean!) See above, Alike!!!
- no students participating in Live From Earth
Question #5: Week of April 21, l997
BRUSH UP ON YOUR GREEK!
There is a letter of the Greek alphabet that is very important both to
launching NASA's current Mars missions and to getting to Mars. What
is that letter? Also, explain how it is used.
Both Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor were launched aboard
Delta II rockets from Cape Canaveral, as seen during LFM program
101. "Delta V" is what rocket scientists (including the Navigation
teams who were featured during program 102) call the "change in
velocity" that keeps a spacecraft on course for a distant planet.
Trajectory correction maneuvers fine tune the route by a
combination of precise timing, and carefully controlled "burns"
providing additional velocity in specific direction.
Question #4: Week of April 14, l997
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
Olympus Mons is the highest feature on Mars. What is its counterpart
on Earth? Be forewarned: it is not Mount Everest!
If you measure Mauna Kea, Hawaii, from ocean floor to peak, you will
find that it is higher than Mt. Everest, Nepal -- about 30,000 feet
compared to Everest's 29,000 feet.
If you think about how astronomers measure the height of features
on Mars, you'll have a clue to help this question. What do we mean?
For Mars, astronomers use the "datum level" -- the reference surface at
which atmospheric pressure is 6.1 millibars (the pressure at the triple
point of water) -- to give a baseline for measurement of altitude. On
Earth we use sea level, but as CQ#3 reminded us, that would currently be
impractical to do on Mars -- though some astronomers think there may once
have been an ocean on Mars, or at least lakes of liquid water, now lost to
space or locked in permafrost.
Question #3: Week of April 7, l997
If you discount Earth's OCEANS, then the surface area of Earth and
Mars -- the dry land of Earth and the surface area of Mars -- are
almost the same. (509,600,000 km squared) (Source of surface area:
The Cambridge Fact Finder)
What do we mean when we say that "this feature" may make Earth
unique when compared to other planets (but maybe not the moons) in
our solar system?
Many astronomers think that Jupiter's moon Europa may hide an
ocean of liquid water under an icy crust, making it the only body in
our solar system, apart from Earth, with liquid water. The Galileo
spacecraft is continuing its successful exploration of the Jovian
system, and has seen what looks like pack ice, forming then
breaking up and reforming in characteristic patterns.
Question #2: Week of March 31, l997
WHO ARE THEY?
Mars has always been a place that has engaged our imagination, as
well as our scientific curiosity. In the 19th and 20th centuries two
men with almost the same last name created the exact same titles
in two different media. Who were these men and what did they write
In 1898 H.G. Wells wrote the 17-chapter novel "The War of the
Worlds." Forty years later, Orson Welles adapted the novel for radio
and on the night before Halloween in 1938, he starred in a radio
drama by the same name. This began the most stunning single
program ever broadcast on radio. It set off a wave of mass hysteria
as Welles described in breathless radio news bulletins and on-the-
scene reports that Martians had invaded New Jersey. Even though CBS
made four announcements during the radio show that it was "only a
play," may listeners did not year them. Panic swept through New
Jersey as people fled their homes and covered their faces with wet
handkerchiefs to protect themselves from the reported poison gases!
Question #1: Week of March 24, l997
If geology is the study of the Earth (from the Greek geo-earth and
logos-knowledge) what should we properly call the study of Mars?
Your answer can be either etymologically correct, with Greek derivation,
or more humorous if you like!
Areology - Ares is Greek for Mars, just as Geos is the Greek
word for Earth. (Remember Pathfinder will land in Ares Vallis,
the Valley of Ares.)
Dave Bogan -- 8th grader at Taylor Road Middle
School -- Alpharetta, Georgia -- gave the exact answer!
Honorable Mention: Matt Bohnhoff and MESA Class of Provo,
A list of answers from all students who submitted them will be
posted on the Live From Mars Web site soon.
Refer to previous