Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

# Teachers' Guide

## Activity 5.1: Today's Weather on Mars

Teacher Background: Seasons, weather and climate on Earth and Mars

Objective

• Students will research temperature and wind data locally, nationally and internationally and compare these to conditions on Mars, and draw conclusions about differences and causes.

Materials
 maximum/minimum thermometer an anemometer barometer state map map of the world map of Mars weather data maps of Mars (con- tained in the Teacher Materials) newspaper (showing weather data) Vocabulary anemometer barometer climate thermometer weather

Engage Ask students about temperature and wind. What is the hottest they can ever remember it being in their town? The coldest? What's the average wind speed? How high are wind speeds in a hurricane? A tornado?

Explore/Explain Explain to the students that they will research temperature and wind conditions on Earth and then compare these to our neighbor world, Mars.

## Real Science

Expand/Adapt/ Connect Teachers can introduce the formulas for converting Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa, as well as kilometers per hour to miles per hour, and give their students practice manipulating the algebraic equations.

Teachers of students in higher grades can use this Activity to give students experience in graphing such variables as maximum temperature, minimum temperature and temperature difference against time or longitude, and superimposing graphs of Earth data with corresponding graphs from Mars.

Have teams of students research and prepare weather reports for different locations on Mars. Then with appropriate graphics and maps which they prepare themselves, have them deliver 3 to 5 minute"Team Coverage" weather reports from around the Red Planet for the latest edition of the"Interplanetary News Network" (which premiered with weathercasts for Pluto and Neptune during our previous Live from the Hubble Space Telescope Module). Suggest that a student report from both the North and South polar caps. Others can be stationed on top of Olympus Mons, and on the equatorial plains near Valles Marineris and in front of a monstrous dust storm heading their way. Videotape the broadcasts, and send us copies at PTK.

Tell students that they are meteorologists on board the first human mission to Mars and ask them to write excerpts from their Weather Log compiled over a year's stay on the surface of the Red Planet. Students could either stay where they landed, or ask them to imagine that their team has been equipped with a special roving vehicle that will allow them to travel to the exotic locations to be found all over Mars.

### Real Science, Real Scientists ...Real Time

Tracking Martian Weather with actual NASA data

Some of the most revolutionary aspects of contemporary science and science education arise from the new tools used to collect and share data, and new approaches to involving secondary school students directly in the analysis of raw data.

Martian weather data will return to Earth at the speed of light, be shared in near real time with the Principal Investigators (P.I.'s) for each of the science instruments, and then--again in near real time--be made available to other researchers and the general public over the Internet. This special Expand section is intended to give the reader of the Print Guide sufficient information and motivation to go on-line, where you will find full details about how to access and use the incoming stream of new Martian data and images.

Both MPF and MGS have instruments recording weather information: here are excerpts from NASA briefings:

### Mars Pathfinder

"...The Imager for Mars Pathfinder is a stereo imaging system with color capability provided by a set of selectable filters for each of the two camera channels... A number of atmospheric investigations are carried out using IMP images. Dust particles in the atmosphere are characterized by observing Phobos at night. Water vapor abundance is measured by imaging the Sun through filters in the water vapor absorption band ...Images of wind socks located at several heights above the surrounding terrain are used to assess wind speed and direction ...The IMP investigation also includes the observation of wind direction using a small wind sock mounted above a reference grid, and a calibration and reference target mounted to the lander.

Atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology Package

The ASI/MET is an engineering subsystem which acquires atmospheric information during the descent of the lander through the atmosphere and during the entire landed mission... Data acquired during the entry and descent of the lander permits the reconstruction of profiles of atmospheric density, temperature and pressure from altitudes in excess of 100 km to the surface.

...The ASI/MET instrument hardware consists of a set of temperature, pressure and wind sensors... Temperature is measured by thin wire thermocouples mounted on a meteorological mast that is deployed after landing. The location of one thermocouple is chosen to measure atmospheric temperature during descent, and three more monitor atmospheric temperatures 25, 50, and 100 cm above the surface during the landed mission. Pressure is measured by a Tavis magnetic reluctance diaphragm sensor similar to that used by Viking, both during descent and after landing. The wind sensor employs six hot wire elements distributed uniformly around the top of the mast. Wind speed and direction 100 cm above the surface are derived from the temperatures of these elements.