Lately I have been hearing a ton about outer space, space travel, life in space, space hotels…I think I could go on and on. Anyway
s, Bing and Microsoft have been doing some interesting partnership in the science /outer space sector.
The first project that I absolutely love is called “Captain Mike’s Mars Adventure.” Bing has partnered with Seattle’s Pacific Science Center (PSC) to bring an online Mars experience to 1st- 8th graders. If your kids are home for the holidays, this is a great activity that looks fun and educational at the same time. The site takes you on a journey with “Captain Mike” as he prepares for his trip to Mars. As part of the trivia contest, kids are asked questions about Mars to help Captain Mike learn about the planet before his trip. For each correct answer, kids earn a star to add to their Interplanetary Explorer badge – because all kids should have one.
After helping prepare Captain Mike for his trip, the kids are able to draw what they think their first day on Mars would look like and submit their drawing for a chance to win a trip to attend the opening of the “Facing Mars” exhibit at PSC, money for their school to put towards science programs, and some pretty sweet computer gear.
Unfortunately, this contest is for Washington State students only but no matter where you are from your kids can still play with the site online! The great thing about this site is that it also has activities geared towards teachers. Wahoo! I know my teacher friends are going to love this. For the full details and to get started in your space exploration, make sure you check out the site at: www.pacificsciencecenter.com/marscontest
Microsoft has also highlighted the work they are doing with NASA on their Mars exploration at this year’s PDC conference. They are looking to all of us to get involved with their Mars project through a site called Be A Martian. On the site you can help improve Martian maps, take part in research tasks, and assist Mars science teams studying data. They are also offering prizes to software developers that create tools that can help provide access to and help analyze the hundreds of thousands of Mars images for online, classroom and Mars mission team use.
So whether you are a kid in school looking for some extracurricular activities over the holidays, a teacher of science, a developer who loves space and or just someone like me wanting to take a tour of Mars, there is something for you!
Kristin Meldahl – Rookie Space Explorer
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