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04-2018 STEM Week: Future Martians Project

Future Martians Project during STEM week

Our whole school is taking part in the Future Martians project. We have booked some space on a special balloon which will go 30km above the Earth. On the way it will experience conditions similar to the surface of Mars, including temperatures of -50oC, pressures 1/100th of sea level and increased radiation. When it reaches 30km up, the balloon bursts, and the experiments sent up with it fall back to Earth and are tracked and retrieved. The plan is to use what is found out in these investigations to help astronauts plan for journeys to, and working on Mars. There’s more information at https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/futuremartians

 

As part of our Science Technology Engineering and Maths week we thought about different items we could send up on the balloon. The items have to fit inside a Kinder Egg capsule and weigh no more than 20g. We then voted on the different ideas to find class and Key Stage winners.

 

Our Foundation Stage winner was grapes. The children wanted to know if the grapes would turn into raisins under the conditions, as raisins are their favourite snack.

 

Our Key Stage One winner was slime. The children were keen to find out if the low temperatures would set the slime, and if, once it had warmed up again if the slime regained its stretchy, malleable properties or whether it became brittle and shattered. It will be important that materials can withstand both the low temperatures on Mars, and still function at the warmer temperatures humans would need in their buildings.

 

The Key Stage Two winner thought about effects on teeth. There will not be dentists on Mars, it will be really important that astronauts take care of their teeth, and to prevent decay and damage. The children plan to send two different types of teeth and toothpaste up in the balloon. They will then investigate if the teeth, especially the enamel, become weaker compared to teeth that have not left Earth.

 

We will give you more information about what happens to our experiments once they return.

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