Discover the Red Planet

Have you ever imagined living on Mars?  NASA is trying to make this a reality in less than 20 years!  Discover The Red Planet is a two week module where students can learn more about modern Mars and the future plans to send humans to Mars.  During this module will use computers to research the surface of Mars and Earth and compare similarities.  Earth and Mars are similar in many ways and students will learn how forces on each planet shape and form each surfaces.  Mars exhibits volcanoes, cratering, and permafrost just like Earth does.  By studying the formation and change of features on Earth, we can apply that knowledge to better inform us about the evolution on Mars.  This module will also include guest speakers, in class activities and field trips to provide students with hands-on experiences to further their understanding of the red planet, Mars.

A few places we will explore this summer are Poker Flat Research Range, Chena Lakes and the Permafrost Tunnel.


Instructor: Marci Ward
Marci Ward

I have been teaching at the Catholic Schools for the past 35 years.  I am a Teacher Liaison for the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This is an international group of teachers that are very interested in teaching and sharing about space science.  I am on the Alaska OneOrbit Team.  I help to bring Dr. Leroy Chiao a former astronaut and Jami Sunkel to Fairbanks every other year.  Their purpose is to excite students about studying Space Science or whatever makes them follow their dreams.  Every year during the Spring semester I have a Space Science Club at my school for third-sixth graders.  I love studying about Space Science and sharing my knowledge, etc. with others. This will be the third year I have been teaching this module.

Instructor: Kylie Hoppner
Kylie Hoppner

I am a senior in college studying Clinical Physiology and I am a certified EMT.  I am from Fairbanks and graduated from Monroe High School.  This will be my second year teaching this module and I am very excited to explore the red planet and Space Science once again.

Instructor: Joshua Knicely
Joshua Knicely

I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks working on my degree in Geophysics. I primarily study volcanism and the near surface of Venus, though I have also studied the regolith of our Moon and the magnetic signatures of volcanic centers of Io (a moon of Jupiter). In my spare time, I volunteer with the Geophysical Institute’s portable planetarium to bring science to the remote reaches of Alaska. The scientific method is one of the most important and powerful tools we can all use, not just in studying the other planets, but also in our daily lives. I hope to pique student’s (and adult’s) interest in science and what it can do for us.