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9-12 > Astronomy/Space Science

Earth and Beyond

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Comparing Earth to Mars
Many scientists believe that, of all the objects in our solar system, Mars is the best candidate for colonization. Its surface is solid, its day is almost the same length as Earth’s and it is known to have water trapped as ice at the poles. However, conditions on Mars are far from friendly.

Start conducting an Earth/Mars comparison by completing this chart:


Rotational period   23 hours
56 minutes
Length of “year”   365.25 days
Mean distance from Sun   93 million miles
(1 AU)
Atmosphere (top three chemicals by %) 1.






Atmospheric pressure
Highest elevation; largest mountain   29,028 feet
(5.5 miles)
Mt. Everest;
Mauna Kea (33,465 feet from sea floor)

Future Plan

  1. Gather all your great ideas and research materials, brainstorm more great ideas with others, and make a plan for the future to answer this question:

Should we send people to Mars? Why or why not?

  2. Choose one of these styles for your presentation: pursuasive speech, science article, science fiction story.
  3. When you’re finished, present your plan to the class. The presentation should give an overview of the steps in your plan, explain who should be responsible for executing each step, and describe what costs and benefits are associated with the plan. You can enhance the presentation with audiovisual materials, models, and demonstrations. Presentations will be evaluated on:
  • Clear definition of the problem or need.
  • Clear presentation of facts and sources.
  • Organization (beginning, middle, and end).
  • Group participation and attentiveness during other presentations.
  • Effect on the audience.