Spring Physics Week 02 - Mission to Mars


Please take a look at the movie "The Martian". I believe it is available on most of the streaming channels. If you've already seen it, I'd recommend another look (I've seen it like 10 times and I still LOVE it).

Also, if you are so inclined, take a gander at a few of the episodes of MARS (also on streaming channels if ya got those). It is a VERY well done series of the first colonists on Mars done by the National Geographic Channel.


Let's start off week #3 by looking at Rockets HERE



  • atmosphere
  • magnetic field
  • solar radiation
  • cosmic rays
  • lava tubes



In case you didn't take a look at my Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Project, here are a few student projects from years past... (I DID say it was very cool).

I'm HOPING that SOMEONE??? took a swing at this... if you did, please upload a copy to our good ol' class submittal page HERE!

Caden: NGC1300


Justin: Carina


Fiona: NGC5189


Mackenzie NGC5189




We'll take a least a week to explore/research/discuss a bunch of topics relating to establishing a permanent human colony on the planet Mars:

(Oh and also, ZOOM gives us the ability to break into smaller groups...we'll give that a go on Monday and if it works well, which I'm told it does, continue to do that from time to time)


0) MarsOne - Go check it out!


  • By the way, what happened to Mars' atmosphere anyhow?

4) Mars' volcano's went extinct LONG ago (how long??).

Why is THAT so important in our discussions of establishing a Martian Colony (Hint: It ain't' got NUTHIN' to do with lava, magma, Mars-quakes or any other seismic concerns)

Hint: You'll have to work your researching skills on this one (I think?)

5) Do we even have rockets powerful enough to take humans to Mars?

  • Let's start off week #3 by looking at Rockets HERE
  • How many "colonists" could such a rocket carry?
  • What about food?
  • What about machines?
  • What about spare parts?

6) If you've watched the movie The Martian, you will most certainly recollect that our hero used an *ahem* very novel farming technique using the soil on Mars.

  • At the time the book (on which the movie is based) was written, that was entirely feasible. It ain't now... how come?

7) You might not know this, but a rather eccentric zillionaire down in Las Vegas has a company that has already designed and built an amazing "inflatable" (really!) habitat for use by humans in space, on the Moon and on Mars.

8) Speaking eccentric zillionaires, Elon Musk says all we need to do is drop a few dozen nukes on the Martian Poles and... BANG (Go to the 2:00 minute mark of THIS video to see)! Instant atmosphere. Discuss with your group whether this idea is feasible BEFORE you research your response.

9) Returning back to the movie The Martian for a moment. Our character's space suit is a marvel of engineering.

  • The movie costume developers worked closely with NASA engineers who are working on that exact project. Go to NASA's website and take a look!
    • What is difficult about developing a spacesuit "suited" for work on the Martian surface?
    • It might surprise you to know that we haven't QUITE managed to work out the details, although Dava Newman, an amazing engineer at MIT is getting really close
    • Why is that so hard to do? What engineering challenges exist in making a Mars Suit (similar to what we saw in The Martian) to allow us to work on the surface of Mars?

10) The science in The Martian is very good. However, they did stretch things a bit (they knew they were doing that by the way, but hey, it's the movies!). See if you can find out what that was and why they did that?

11) How useful is Solar Power on Mars? Do a wee bit o' research

12) How dangerous are Dust Storms on Mars really?

13) How would you go about guarding the mental/emotional health of your colonists on the 6 - 8 month journey to Mars in a space ship that may offer living spaces no larger than a couple of school busses?

14) Are you up for a MATH challenge?