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Event ID:  2196
Contact Name:  David D. Thornburg, PhD
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  +55 81 3301 5711
Organization:  Thornburg Center for Space Exploration
Event Web Site:
Dates:  5th October 2010 to 8th October 2010
Physical Event: 
Type:  Private
Start/End Type: 
Country:  Brazil
State/Province:  Pernambuco
City:  Recife
Location:  Colégio Atual Boa Viagem
Event Name:  Mission to Mars: The Search for Life
Event Description:  This after-school event will use the world's first educational holodeck as a platform for students to simulate a trip to Mars in search of evidence that the planet had, or has, life on it. Using celestial navigation software and other customized programs, students will pilot their “spacecraft” on the dangerous journey from Earth to an area close to Mars where they can send robotic vessels to the surface for sample collection and analysis. During the course of the mission, students will be researching the most likely areas to explore, and taking part in many activities ranging from designing tests to establish the existence of life, designing excavation robots, and exploring the risks of bringing samples from Mars back to their spaceship. Furthermore, their trip will encounter other challenges, including the possibility of a massive solar storm, spaceship damage from space debris, etc. The Educational Holodeck is a highly interactive and immersive room that, under computer control, takes on the appearance of different kinds of exploration craft – in this case a spaceship. Because the students explore multiple disciplines in the course of the mission, the holodeck simulates the kinds of challenges and stimulates the thinking skills required during a real mission to space. Many of the tasks done on this mission reinforce subjects students are learning in their normal classes.
Promotional Image:  No Image.
Report on the Results:  The first session with students went very well. They had a successful mission and learned new things about Mars - including the possibility that Mars had (and may have) microbial life. The holodeck technology worked almost perfectly. Friday's mission was even better. During one of the solar storms students needed to avoid, the sound of pings from the particle detectors scared a few of the kids! For a moment, they thought they were in danger. But, by hiding behind Mars, they let the storm pass without further incident. Today's students didn't want to leave. On our way out of the school, one of Tuesday's students wanted to know when he could go again. We told him we'd do another Mission in November.
Attendance:  50
Attendance is Unique: 
Media Impressions:  1000
Media Impressions are Unique: 

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