Life on Mars - Going Further

Going Further

  1. See the Imax movie “Roving Mars”. The animation is absolutely incredible. Sadly, little of the scientific discoveries on Mars itself are discussed in the movie but the engineering that went into designing the rovers and getting them to Mars is clearly and dramatically shown.
  2. After completing this activity, bake the soil samples at 200 degrees for 30 minutes, or microwave them on high for 5 minutes, to kill the yeast. Then do the activity again. The nutrient milkshake and agar plate tests should now show negative results but the protein test should still detect the presence of the yeast.
  3. Study other aspects of Mars such as its size, gravitation, planetary history, etc. NASA provides an extensive list of Mars-related lesson plans.
  4. Investigate what the “blueberries” really are – beads of hematite. Bring in samples of hematite and test some of its physical properties using methods described in the History of Rock activity. Hematite stats:
    • Hardness - 6.5, comparable to pyrite
    • Color – reddish grey, reddish brown, grey, dark grey
    • Density - 5.3
    • Luster – metallic
    • Streak – reddish brown
    • A neodymium magnet will show a weak attraction for hematite, regular magnets will not.