Life on Mars: Students Learn to Engineer a Mission

Students learn how digital data storage plays a role in space missions

The challenge: engineer a human mission to Mars and determine how to sustain life while on the red planet. Over 500 students participated in the Seagate-sponsored STARBASE camp at the Minnesota National Guard base, to learn how to do just that.

3 engineering prospects at the STARBASE campDuring one afternoon, students interacted with scientists and engineers from 16 participating companies, including four Seagate volunteers who demonstrated various marvels related to digital data and disk drives. The camp holds six sessions during the summer.

The program teaches students how to become expert rocket, rover, and colony engineers. Children designed rocket fins and nosecone prototypes that they tested on the last day of camp. They also investigated rocket design as they engineered a safe way for the rocket to travel through the dangerous temperatures of space, and they observed and experimented with changing the mass of a rocket.

“The scientists’ and engineers’ demonstrations are a huge hit and are a highlight for so many kids,” said Tim Swanson, a STARBASE instructor. “The kids—and parents and staff—get a ton out of the activity. As students were leaving the building, I could hear them telling their parents, with great excitement, about the demonstrations. Parents also find it valuable for their children to meet real professionals.”

Students review rocket, rover, and colony engineering results


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