ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (April 10, 2020)

“Meet an Expert” series

Earlier this week we had an amazing Zoom session with astronaut Fred Haise of the Apollo 13 crew.  And next week our “Meet an Expert” series will feature another planetary protection expert.

Fred Haise — Now up on YouTube

We’ve posted the video from our Zoom chat with Fred Haise to our YouTube channel.  If you’ve missed any of our past “Meet an Expert” sessions, you can also catch up on them there.

“Meet an Expert” — André Galli

For our next “Meet an Expert” chat, André Galli from the University of Bern in Switzerland will join us to delve more into planetary protection!  Students will have time for Q&A with André after his presentation.

Details:

ROADS Freestyle — Submission date extended!

We’ve extended the submission date for the ROADS Free Challenge.  Freestyle teams now have up to May 18 to get their submissions to us.

Haven’t signed up for the Freestyle challenge yet?  There’s also still plenty of time to register.  Details on the challenge are at: https://nwessp.org/mars-freestyle/

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (March 31, 2020)

ROADS Freestyle Challenge

If your Mars skills feel like they’re going dull with so many activities suspended right now, we have great news for you!  We’ve launched a new challenge that any team can do even while observing “safer-at-home” policies in place for coronavirus.  It’s called ROADS on Mars Freestyle Challenge and registration is now open!

About the Freestyle challenge

  • Roughly follows the objectives of the original ROADS on Mars challenge, but only uses items your team members in their homes.
  • Still a team activity (not a solo adventure!), so one of the challenges is to devise how your team will work together while also staying safe under “stay-at-home” policies.
  • Is a completely separate challenge from the original ROADS on Mars — which, yes, means your team’s progress on ROADS doesn’t really count toward Freestyle.  However….
  • Is open to all K–12 students in the U.S. whether or not they registered for the original ROADS.  So if you didn’t get to register for ROADS, now is your chance to sign up for a Mars mission!  (And if you did sign up for the original ROADS, this is a nice opportunity for your team to keep working together toward Mars.)

Prizes!

  • Top prize is a trip to a NASA center!  (Date to be determined, of course.)
  • “Best in Mission Objective” prize for most of the Mission Objectives.

Details

  • Register by:  Monday, April 13
  • Submit your team’s mission documentation by:  Monday, April 27
  • Freestyle website

In particular, please review the details — and download a copy of the Mission Objectives document — on the Freestyle Details page!  And if you have any questions, please email us: nwessp@uw.edu

Cool things to watch online

Our most recent “Meet an Expert” Zoom chat was last week — if you missed it, it’s now up on our website and YouTube.  We also have another one coming up next week, plus a recommendation for some lectures from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  We know that joining a webinar can be tough right now, not least because everyone else is clogging up the internet trying to do the same thing, but if you’re able to tune into any of these, we think you’ll find them useful.

Upcoming “Meet an Expert”

We are SO excited that our next expert chat will be with none other than Fred Haise, one of the Apollo 13 astronauts!  We really hope you’ll join us for this one!

Last week’s “Meet an Expert”

On March 26 we chatted with John Rummel, a senior scientist at the SETI Institute, about “planetary protection” — aka, keeping Earth (and other solar system bodies) safe from microbes.  If you missed it, you can view the archived video on our website.

Lecture webcasts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

JPL has some pretty cool talks coming up as part of their von Kármán Lecture Series, and they’ve taken them online.  Check these out if you can!

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (March 24, 2020)

G’day, ROADS on Mars teams!

Meet an expert

We hope you can join us this Thursday, March 26, for another of our “Meet an Expert” chats! John Rummel, a senior scientist at the SETI Institute, will join us for an hour to talk on a subject that may sound very familiar right now — planetary protection. How do we keep Earth from getting contaminated by microbes from space? How do we protect other bodies in the solar system (Mars, for example!) from becoming contaminated by organisms from Earth? When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from that first mission to the moon, they were quarantined for nearly a month in a special Airstream trailer. What does planetary protection look like in our modern era? John’s talk will cover the rationale for planetary protection considerations and its implementation during interplanetary journeys.

Details:

Important ROADS announcement coming Thursday!

The ROADS on Mars challenge may be indefinitely suspended — but you don’t have to step off the ROAD(s) just yet. NESSP has been brainstorming ideas on how we can continue working on our mission even while we’re grounded, and on Thursday we’ll have an exciting announcement on our new, ROADS-related project. Join us for our “Meet an Expert” chat to get all the details. Or, if you can’t join us on Zoom, check out our website Thursday afternoon (Pacific Time) for details to go live.

NESSP suspends in-person activities until further notice

As you are all aware, the coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic and schools are being closed nationwide.

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge

We do not want students attempting to complete the challenge and running the risk of being infected. Therefore, to ensure everyone’s safety we are indefinitely suspending the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge. Your efforts will not have been in vain as we WILL restart the program once an all clear is given to health authorities — we will keep the objectives unchanged and there will still be the funded trips to a NASA Center.

We also plan on having a few additional science matter expert talks, so please stay tuned! We will announce upcoming online activities — and the restart of the challenge — as details are available.

Educator summit

We are cancelling our educator summit, planned for June 2020 in Seattle, with the hope that we may be able to reschedule for later in the summer.

Summer 2020 camps

We are putting NESSP summer camps for 2020 on hold until further notice.

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (March 13, 2020)

Even though our challenge events are suspended indefinitely, that doesn’t mean the road has come to an end. We’ll be continuing with our virtual “Meet a NASA Expert” chats, so keep your Zoom app at the ready. We’ll also be sending more ROADS newsletters in the coming weeks so that we can all continue to collaborate on this mission even while we’re grounded.

We’ve very happy to announce that our next expert chat will happen on March 24. Join us to talk with John Rummel, senior scientist at the SETI Institute!

Details:

We’ll send out a reminder before the event. We hope you’ll join us!

Washington ROADS on Mars hub event indefinitely postponed

We are deeply sorry to announce that the ROADS on Mars hub event for Washington state is indefinitely postponed.

Other hubs currently plan to continue with virtual events, as previously announced, but updates will be posted as the situation evolves.

ROADS teams have all worked so hard and accomplished so many impressive things already during the challenge! We’re very proud of each one of you.

NESSP transitions ROADS on Mars hub events to virtual

As our ROADS on Mars Student Challenge nears its spring hub events, we have watched as the COVID-19 outbreak moves across the United States. To make sure all our teams have the chance to complete the final ROADS challenge in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy while also making sure everyone still has a shot at the top prize, NESSP is transitioning our hub final challenge events to virtual events.

NESSP Director Robert Winglee writes:

Thank you all for participating in the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge. I have watched in awe the postings that are on social media already. Great job everyone! I hope you continue the challenge — and the new challenge that will be announced later this year.

As you are maybe aware, coronavrius is in the U.S. Out of an abundance of caution and to do our part in limiting the spread of the virus, all challenge events for ROADS on Mars Student Challenge will now be virtual. Some of the hubs will just have teams run through the challenge live on streaming video, others will just have you submit your challenge online, and others may be a hybrid of these approaches. Please check our website regularly for updates: nwessp.org/mars

As for the grand prize, we still intend to make the launch of Mars2020 if the coronavirus threat diminishes before the launch. If it does not diminish, winning teams will still have the opportunity to visit a NASA Center at a later time when the coronavirus threat is diminished — so please keep working at the challenge!

All hubs will still hold a (virtual) final challenge event to select their top teams. We will post updated dates and details on how “virtual” will work for each hub as information is available.

Top teams will still receive a grand prize. We will send top teams to Kennedy Space Center for the launch of the Mars2020 / Perseverance rover this summer if travel is safe. If the launch is scrubbed, teams will have the opportunity to visit a NASA Center at a later time.

Exploring space comes with its share of unforeseen complications. Fifty years ago this spring, the crew of Apollo 13 experienced an incident with their craft that caused NASA to scrub that mission’s moon landing. But with all of NASA working together as a team, the three astronauts returned safely to Earth. NESSP is working closely with our challenge hubs to make sure ROADS teams can complete their mission.

We are still excited to see how each team tackles the ROADS challenge — we’re looking forward to exploring Mars with you!

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (Feb. 21, 2020)

Today we bring you some resources that may be helpful on your ROADS mission.

Subject matter experts

Have you missed any of our “Meet a NASA Expert” talks? We have them all archived! You can find them on our website or on our YouTube channel:

Q&A with NESSP for teams

If you missed any of the Q&A sessions that we’ve held for ROADS teams, we have those on YouTube as well!

Equipment resources

If you’re trying to get the hang of your ROADS on Mars equipment, we also have some resources for you that may be helpful:

Register to run a ROADS on Mars summer program!

Summer Registration for our ROADS on Mars Student Challenge is now open!  We would like to encourage NESSP Partners, past NESSP Challenge Teams (ANGLeS), and past NESSP Summer Camp Leads to sign up through our central registration system: nwessp.org/mars/about/registration.

If you have run a NESSP Summer Camp in the past, please note that this year we will primarily be running camps through our ROADS on Mars activities.  After registering, we will contact you with additional paperwork and supply information.

More information about ROADS on Mars can be found at nwessp.org/mars/.   Please contact nwessp@uw.edu with questions!

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (Feb. 12, 2020)

Our next “Meet a NASA Expert” video conference is coming up this week. Details are below — but first, some information on the mini-challenges.

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge submissions

We hope you’ve been working on your ROADS mini-challenges. We’ve loved the videos we’ve seen on social media so far! Don’t forget to submit them to NESSP so that your hub can score them.

Submissions page — https://nwessp.org/mars/teams/submissions/. If you visit the NESSP website on a computer, you’ll see a white button that says “Mini-challenge submissions!” on the right-hand side. Or you can select “Mini-challenge submission” from the dropdown menu on the top navigation bar.

Have you had problems uploading your video? Don’t forget that the videos (and mission patch photos) are optional! The important thing is to submit at least one link to a social media post.

“Meet a NASA Expert” — Joanna Hogancamp

Our next ROADS on Mars subject matter expert video conference is Thursday, February 13. Joanna Hogancamp from Johnson Space Center will join us. Joanna is part of the Mars research group and conducts laboratory experiments that aim to better understand data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover! There will be time for questions after Joanna’s talk.

We’ll start at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time).

  • You can join us online (which gives you both audio and video). Zoom will ask if you’d like to use the app or the website: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5555431943
  • You can join us via phone (which gives you audio only). Dial +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) or +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) and enter meeting ID # 555-543-1943.

More details on using Zoom are on our website.

Not able to make it? Or missed any of our previous expert chats? You can find them on our website: https://nwessp.org/resources/type/subject-matter-experts/

Team support Q&A with NESSP staff

Have questions about the ROADS challenge? Join us Thursday, February 13, at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time) — yes, right after the chat with Joanna! — to talk with NESSP staff about the challenge.