findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are
those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER
"To MARS with MER"
P2K's ongoing "To MARS with MER," project (TMwM), supported by NSF and NASA, is not a typical science documentary, focusing on new knowledge published after the event in a formal press conference.
Instead - using video, online resources and hands-on activities simulating key moments of the MER mission - here on this website and in the broadcast programs, you can find fascinating new science along with cutting-edge engineering and high technology, as it happens. This real-life drama emerges through compelling human stories - captured "fly-on-the-wall" with light-weight video cameras and in candid portraits of the diverse, young team that's been working around the clock since the summer of the year 2000 to build the twin rovers and operate them on Mars.
Science and technology come to life through engaging characters confronting challenges more authentic and more high risk than any seen in "reality TV."
A space mission that "looks like America" "To MARS with MER," involves, of course, the "usual suspects" whom everyone associates with cutting-edge space missions: scientists and engineers at NASA centers, and in university physics and astronomy departments. But the MER project also includes seamstresses in white smocks cutting fabric for the all-important airbags, in Dover, Delaware.
Hip young engineers from many different ethnic backgrounds crunch numbers and cut metal in SOHO, New York, in a building associated with inventor Thomas Edison, to make the Rock Abrasion Tool, or "RAT", specially designed to grind away dust layers to let the science instruments analyze Martian rocks.
Plainspoken working men at NASA's Plum Brook facility in Sandusky, Ohio, tend huge vacuum pumps in the world's largest test chamber. The noise is so extreme that everything shakes, as they use heavy equipment that would be at home in a steel plant to test MER's landing system.