Month: March 2017

Getting Robots Ready for Mars


The most competitive Critical Design Review in University Rover Challenge (URC) history has concluded with 36 student teams from seven countries being selected to compete June 1-3 at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah.

A record 82 teams from 13 countries began the year trying to design and build the world’s best astronaut-assisting Mars rover. With most teams presenting highly advanced systems, judges were left with an incredibly difficult decision and ultimately decided to expand the field of competitors from 30 to 36 teams.

Watch the official video announcement about those teams advancing to the final round of URC 2017.

The Mars Society wants to express its appreciation to URC’s primary sponsor – Protocase – for producing the video. In addition, our sincere thanks to long-time URC director Kevin Sloan for all of his hard work in organizing this  wonderful event.

Please join us this June at MDRS for the three-day URC competition! If you can’t make it, a full report about this year’s contest will be presented at the 2017 International Mars Society Convention.

K-5 Mars Rover Projects

Make your own pair of 3-D glasses fashioned after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity! Customize your glasses with crayons and other decorations, then show us your work.
#RoverView materials


Step 1: Print it out

1. Print it out

Print out the #Roverview 3-D Glasses template. Set your printer to: double-sided, flip along right edge. (You can also print out the front and back on separate pieces of paper and glue or tape them together.)

Step 2: Cut it out

2. Cut it out

Cut around the outside edge of the template. Then cut out the inner squares to make holes for your lenses.

Step 3:

3. Attach the lenses

Use glue or tape to attach a pair of 3-D glasses to the back of the template. Or, if you’re using theater gels or another transparent material for your lenses, attach the red lens on the back left side and the blue lens on the back right side.

Step 4: Make it handheld

4. Make it handheld

Attach a Popsicle stick or tongue depressor to the back of the template. If you don’t use 3-D glasses for your lenses, this will allow you to easily hold you mask in place.

Step 5: Customize your glasses

5. Customize your glasses

Use crayons and markers to draw designs on your mask and add decorations like stickers, pipe cleaners and pom-poms. See where your curiosity takes you!

Step 6: Show off your creation

6. Show off your creation

Snap a picture wearing your new, stellar 3-D glasses and share it with JPL Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #RoverView. Be sure to get your parents’ or guardians’ permission before sharing your snaps online.

7. Look at space images

7. Look at space images

Use your 3-D glasses to look at stellar scenes from Earth to Mars and beyond. Check out 3-D space images!

Getting USA Kids Ready To Perform A Visual Jazz Opera Based on Mars

A Bob Barboza Production.png

Bob Barboza has assembled a team of scientists, engineers, musicians, composers and arrangers to help him to create a version of Gustav Holst-Mars for elementary students in South Central Los Angeles.  We are integrating robots and new electronic instruments into this production.   We are bringing STEAM++ (science,technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, computer languages and foreign languages) to the schools.  Bob will be touring schools and public libraries with his robots talking about his third visual jazz opera based on the “The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures.”   Bob is busy writhing the ninth movement of this opera titled, “Are We Along in the Universe?” in A minor.

You can follow the making of a visual jazz opera by visiting:





Students from Around The World Are Cooking Space Food


Students at the Barboza Space Center are exploring the idea of cooking space food.  This article will help to set the stage at your school or afterschool STEM program.  We are stronger if we work together.  Who wants to help?  We want to publish your ideas.

How bright is the future of space food
by Staff Writers
Honolulu HI (SPX) Feb 27, 2017

illustration only

Research at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa could play a major role in NASA’s goal to travel to Mars in the 2030s, including what the astronauts could eat during that historic mission.

A trip to Mars and back is estimated to take about two and half years, and ideally, their diet would be healthy while requiring minimal effort and energy. UH Manoa mechanical engineering student Aleca Borsuk may have the solution.

“I picked a really hearty, heat tolerant, drought tolerant species of edible vegetable, and that is amaranth. It’s an ancient grain,” said Borsuk, who determined that she could significantly increase the edible parts, which is basically the entire plant, by changing the lighting. “If you move the lights and have some of them overhead and some of them within the plant leaves, it can actually stimulate them to grow faster and larger.”

This is without adding more lights and by using energy efficient LEDs. Thanks to Borsuk’s work with lighting, plants could play an important role in the future of space travel.

“This plant would do the same thing that it does here on Earth, which is regenerate oxygen in the atmosphere,” said Borsuk. “It also can provide nutrition for the astronauts and if you can imagine being away from Earth for many years, you know tending something that’s green would have a psychological boost as well.”

A 2013 UH Presidential Scholar, Borsuk presented her research at the Hawai?i Space Grant Consortium Spring 2016 Fellowship and Traineeship Symposium and at the 2016 American Society for Horticultural Science Conference in Florida. She is mentored by UH Manoa Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Associate Professor Kent Kobayashi, who is also an American Society for Horticultural Science Fellow.