Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

'Countdown' on Channel 9

Teacher Assistant Julie Kemp, 16, uses a gauge to determine how hight the rockets sour.

Interactive NASA trip
will aid student work

Tuesday's broadcast on KIXE Channel 9 will coincide with space-related science projects launched last month by Shasta High School Students.

By Jeff Munson
R-s staff reporter

For many teens. the final frontier in adolescence is to graduate from high school.

But a group of Shasta High students is looking to the heavens and NASA for answers to a series of space-related science projects launched last month by teacher Brian Grigsby.

On Tuesday, about 60 Shasta students will joint their peers from around the country in a live, interactive "field trip" from NASA headquarters in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The program, called "Countdown" begins at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast on Redding Public Television KIXE Channel 9. "Countdown" will focus on the recent launch of the Mars Global Surveyor satellite and the planned December mission of another unmanned space vehicle the Mars Pathfinder.

During the broadcast, students will have a chnace to ask questions via e-mail to a team of NASA scientists and engineers who have worked on the two Mars spacecraft.

Tuesday's program marks the first time Shasta students have

"I thought it would be nice for them to see how science is changing and is constantly pushing the limits of what we know."

Teacher Brian Grigsby
Shasta High School


participated in interactive television broadcasts carried by KIXE. The public television station plans to offer more next year.

"For students, the electronic field trips are a unique learning experience that keeps them curren with the technology of the times," said KIXE spokeswoman Kathy Coulter.

Teacher Grigsby said he hopes "Countdown" will provide an engaging way of teaching students about space programs. NASA and the Mars expeditions.

Shasta student Tobe Marchione, 15, pulls a cord that uncorks a model rocket. He and partner Jason Norderum, 14, built the rocket with a two-liter plastic bottle and cardboard.

"I thought it would be nice for them to see how science is changing and is constantly pushing the limits of what we know," he said.

To prepare for the broadcast, students ahve done experiements related to the Mars projects.

In one study, students placed a tiny camera on a remote control truck and maneuvered the truck through a "Martian" obstacle course by watching it on a computer screen.

The experiment was to demonstrate how scientists plan to maneuver the unmanned space vehicle by way of satellite, as it roams the Martian landscape to collect samples of the surface.

In another experiment, students worked in pairs to build rockets from two-liter plastic soda bottles.

The rockets were launched by compressing 60 pounds of air into empty bottles and then uncorking them from a launch pad.

In one class, students Harlen Robinson, 16, and Jennifer Webb, 15, made a rocket that climbed 160 feet before plunging into a tree. The pair said they used aerodynamic fins that were stronger than ones used by their classmates.

"The stronger the fins, the higher it flies," Jennifer said.