Broadcast information
TV Station Registration
School Teacher Registration
Order Tapes
The Red Planet
Follow the Water
History of Mars Exploration
Oral History
The M-Team
Watch The Videos
Hands on Activities
Online Interaction
Marsquest-Destination Mars
Local Events
Spanish Resources
New and Now
Around the WWW
On This Site

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Any opinions, 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.

To MARS with MER - Tour


Greetings! This section provides a short roadmap to this website. The "To MARS with MER" site is not intended as a standalone and comprehensive guide to Mars or the Mars Exploration Rover mission, but rather to serve as a companion to the video, hands-on and targeted outreach components of the TMwM project. It also serves as a portal to the best of NASA and other resources. We're pleased to point to sites with more depth on particular topics. And we'd be pleased to hear from you (via Contact Us) if you discover sites you think we should link to.

But we do think TMwM is unique in our emphasis on the people behind the mission. (Hence the people pictures on almost every page.) Many other sites provide BIOgraphies, but few have as many or as diverse a group of scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff as this. Here's an overview of the site.


Here's where to find BROADCAST INFORMATION with airdates, times, and content. If you're a TV STATION, it's also the place to find satellite coordinates and a registration form. TEACHERS, PARENTS AND PUBLIC also invites anyone, anywhere to watch: the programs have special "life of tape" rights for educators, courtesy of P2K's support from NSF and NASA. And if you missed the broadcasts, here's the place to find out how to ORDER TAPES/DVDs.

MARS-the planet
An introduction to Mars as a place, in 3 sections: The Red Planet, about Mars in human history; Follow the Water, which is both NASA's guiding vision for current missions to Mars, and a pretty good description of what spacecraft have been doing from orbit, and now... soon... from the ground; and Life? (the question mark is definitely required)-the Big Question which makes Mars so fascinating. Has life ever originated on another world in our solar system? The answer will help answer one of humanity's oldest questions: Are we alone?

Please note that each page has a WANT TO KNOW MORE? box, providing customized links to more information about many of the topics discussed. (Who says you can't learn anything from STARSHIP TROOPERS?)

MER-the mission
True to our portal promise, this links directly to the most authoritative and current sources of information on the Mars Exploration Rover mission, the sites at JPL and Cornell. JPL, managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, also manages the rover mission, and is home base for many of the men and women you'll meet on camera and online. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, is home to the Athena science instrument team, under Steve Squyres. "Athena" was and is the name of the suite of instruments originally designed to fly on a cancelled 2001 rover mission. Now Steve and colleagues finally get to send Athena to Mars. In addition to information about all the science instruments, you can also meet "Way Cool Scientists" working on the mission, and there are activities designed by Bill Nye The Science Guy, host of our first and second live TV specials, COUNTDOWN TO MARS and FIRST LOOK. Be sure to check in regularly to read "This Just In", Steve Sqyures breezy insider's view of that week's happenings, the ups and the downs, of doing one of the most difficult tasks imaginable.

This section provides exclusive portraits of some of the men and women behind the mission, not just the scientists who will announce new data and stunning images, but those who design, build, test and operate the rovers. Check out the growing set of BIOgraphies We've also included links to NASA and other biographical information, where it already exists. In the course of developing TMwM we've also accumulated nearly 150 hours of tapes, including candid INTERVIEWS with many of the project leaders. Now you can sample an oral history of MER, science history in the making. Lastly, JOURNALS, a link to Steve Squyres unrivalled set of diaries dating back to 1999 and continuing, including behind the scenes accounts of launch, cruise, landing and surface operations. Also, links to Journals written by young people participating in The Planetary Society's Red Rover Goes to Mars project and Cornell's Athena Student Intern Project, ASAP: student astronauts write daily reports about getting to travel to JPL and actually work with rover scientists!

We hope you'll "get involved" with "To MARS with MER," and then stay involved, following news of the launch, cruise and landing, and-in Winter/Spring 2004-surface operations of the twin rovers on Mars. This section of the website describes the resources offered as part of "To MARS with MER" by ourselves and our partners are.

Find out how to WATCH THE VIDEOS, or send e-mail to Mars researchers and engineers through ON-AIR. Check out about VIDEO STREAMING, or if your local PBS station is planning to carry the programs. Here are also HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES directly related to sequences in the videos: watch how NASA planned to bounce MER down onto Mars, then try to do the same... with an egg. If you lead a youth group, challenge your youngsters to "Build a Robot out of Humans" and get them personally involved in programming how to move blindfolded but safely over a landscape. Here's also information about outreach relating to Mars by our project partners, the Space Science Institute (creators of the "MarsQuest" and "Destination Mars" traveling exhibits) and DePaul University. Also check out Marsapalooza and the M-TEAM, an innovative national tour featuring 3 scientists and 3 engineers, 3 male and 3 female, who went on the road in December 2003 to spread information and inspiration about the rover mission in the exciting last month before landing! You're invited to watch, browse, ask, visit, stage community events, and generally... GET INVOLVED!

Online Interactions
During the broadcasts, and for one hour thereafter, students, teachers, parents, informal science educators and youth group leaders will have the opportunity to submit questions in real time to researchers studying Mars and receive back individual answers via e-mail, again in real time. This section of the site provides everything you need to submit your questions to the experts including guidelines on how to ask a good question and how to submit your questions.

Spanish Resources
Portions of the NASA websites with information about the mission are in Spanish as well as English. This section links you to those resources.

"Mars constantly surprises us" say members of the MER team. That's what excites them, and what makes the exploration of the planet full of NEW & NOW information to excite all of us. Here you can find "local" and "global" news. On this Site: Here we point to new additions to this "To MARS with MER" site, which will be constantly growing and changing until summer 2004. Around the World Wide Web: Mars is of great interest to both professional astronomers and the general public. Here are links to recent press releases and news stories, articles in general and specialist publications, relating to Mars, MER, exploration, the search for life beyond Earth, and robotics. Check back every week, and we're sure you'll find lots that's NEW & NOW, on this site and around the world.


Using the PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE search engine you can easily find any content appearing in this "To MARS with MER" site, or in the other P2K projects (such as PASSPORT TO ANTARCTICA, PASSPORT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM, the ongoing LIVE FROM... series, or "SCiC," SCIENCE CONCEPTS IN CONTEXT.)

An overview of this project, "To Mars with MER," its Goals and Objectives, and of PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, public television's longest-running series of interactive learning adventures.

As the name indicates, INTERACT is the primary way for students, teachers, parents, the general public and informal science educators at museums and planetariums to find out all the latest about "To Mars with MER," communicate with each other, peer-to-peer, and work together on exciting online collaborative projects. (Also check out GET INVOLVED! for ways in which-depending on where you live-you can make trips to traveling exhibits created by P2K's partner, the Space Science Institute, or participate in special local events, beginning in September 2003, in some of America's largest cities.) Here you'll be able to sign up for the moderated DISCUSS-MARS list.

Tips for teachers, including those who work in formal as well as in informal science education, and also for the home-schooler or youth leader. Whether you want a full Teacher's Guide for our earlier LIVE FROM MARS project, Standards Correlations to help you decide how to meet your state's guidelines (or "framework"), or just Program Viewing Tips about how to make watching a video more than a chance for you and the students to relax (not that that's always a bad thing! see KIDS' CORNER), then this is the place to find lots of resources in one teacher-friendly location. Many of the tips, suggestions and resources are easily adapted to a wide variety of informal science education settings.

And no matter the setting in which you're using TMwM, please Register using the simple online form. All these resources are free, and no commercial use will be made of any address or personal information, but we are obliged to provide NSF and NASA with evidence of how this project is functioning, and we'd love to have our evaluators contact you, if you are willing. Many thanks for that: it's a small "price" to pay for free materials.

Many of the MER team are in their 20s and 30s: it's a project that's young at heart. Even the veterans of 40 and 50 are working like youngsters. But this section of the site has genuine fun and games, learning puzzles relating to MER, Mars and the exploration of the solar system. Check it out: all work and no play would make "To MARS with MER" a dull website and project. As yet the slider puzzles of the Martian surface date from the Pathfinder and Sojourner images. Be assured that when MER touches down, there'll be new sights to wonder at and puzzle over.

That's this section: 'nuff said.

A growing list of (mostly) online materials we've found useful: we hope you do too! And if you find something you think we should link to or mention, please contact us.

The heading speaks for itself: send e-mail suggestions to P2K.

So, that's the TOUR: we hope you explore this site as it grows... and through it also explore Mars, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

The P2K "To MARS with MER" development team