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WebQuests (ICT Integration)

To Mars and Beyond

The future of space travel and colonisation may seem like science fiction, but right now scientists are developing new technologies and inventions to make travel to Mars a reality. Do you think this is good thing? What would it take to live on Mars - you will look at the human components of space colonisation and exploration by determining the types of people and jobs needed to run a colony on another planet. You will examine the infrastructure of a space colony and also think about the social structures—laws, rules, and government—needed for successful colonisation.


You are part of a NASA team planning for the first human colony on Mars. A great deal of work is needed to pull this together. To complete this assignment your team will conduct research in order to answer the following questions :

1. What type of settlement is most practical-one on the planet itself or one that is in orbit around Mars?

2. What is needed to get the colony up and running? You must decide what kind of equipment the colonists will need. You also need to figure out how to provide the colonists with the resources that they will need-food and water, for example.

3. What kinds of jobs are needed to run the colony? Make a list of personnel and jobs for the Mars colony.


You and your team will create a PowerPoint presentation to NASA officials that will illustrate your recommendations. The presentation should persuade the officials that your team can establish a successful colony on Mars. Use PowerPoint's multimedia features, including sound and transitions, to present your report clearly and effectively.

For this assignment, you will work in teams of four and you will divide your task into roles as follows (click on each role for more information):

You will examine the types of equipment essential for colonists on Mars. This may include housing, transportation, and equipment needed for scientific experiments. What kind of equipment will the colonists need to build the colony and to live there? Where will the colonists live? What types of rovers, space craft, and other transportation devices will be needed?
Personnel Director
You will determine the types of jobs needed for the colony and who might be best suited for those jobs. Who are the people that will be needed in the space colony? What kinds of support people are needed? What characteristics would best suit people planning to live on Mars?
Resource Specialist
You will research how to support life in space and on Mars. How will life be sustained? How will the colony be powered? Will you try to grow plants? Where will you find food and water?
Government Specialist
You will help establish some type of system for handling problems at the colony. The colony will need a form of government and rules and regulations to preserve order. Who will be in charge? What types of rules will be necessary? What will be the consequences if people violate the rules? Will there be a police force?

Note your findings and discuss them with your team as you design a storyboard for your persuasive presentation to NASA officials.


» http://www.ibiblio.org/astrobiology/index.php?page=habitat04
This site offers a comprehensive look at ways life can be supported in space. It also has links to several other sites that deal with space stations and space exploration.

» http://mars.nasa.gov/programmissions/
This site is totally devoted to the Red Planet. Students can find information about Mars and about planned missions. The site also has photos of the planet. Students might use the photos as a part of their presentation.

» http://www.nasa.gov
The NASA site is loaded with information about missions to Mars and the latest technology.

» http://www.space.com
This is an excellent site loaded with video clips and information about Mars.

» http://quest.arc.nasa.gov
This site offers a look at the people behind the space programme. Students can find information here about different jobs that might be needed in a space colony.

» http://spacelist.org
This site offers links to many other space related sites. It has links to sites related to sustaining life in space and technology.

» http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/
This site is about living and working for sustained periods in space. It offers information on costs, technologies, and ecosystems. It also offers extensive links to other sites dealing with space colonies.

» http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/mars_futurist_000622.html
This is a good article that discusses the possibility of finding water on Mars and how that could be beneficial to future colonies.


You have spent the last few lessons being very creative in your thinking. At the same time you have had the opportunity to think deeply about practical issues, governance and personal qualities of people with the kind of character that would survive on Mars. All things are connected, and you will have seen this basic ecological principle in action during this project.

» Download the Presentation Assessment

Related Scenarios

» Space Race
» Space Exploration

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