Since we just took our own trip to Mars we spent some time Friday learning about the Mars Phoenix Lander mission. It’s such a perfect example of “messy learning”. We noted all the steps and thinking that go into a mission like this. We talked about how only 5 out of 11 attempts to land spacecraft on Mars have been successful (part of the “messy” aspect) and they learn from each failure and try again. Our experience building our own systems to survive on Mars gave my students some schema to understand the process at least somewhat.
NASA has a great collection of video explaining how it all works, so we had a fun and enlightening time watching and discussing the various parts of the mission. They’re homework this weekend was to come back on Tuesday ready to talk about the success or failure of the landing, so tomorrow I’m ready for a great discussion.
Learning is messy!