NASA’s ‘Be a Martian’ Project (August 28, 2010)

Posted: August 28, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Academia, Space Exploration
Tags: , , ,

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

I have followed NASA’s site since the first day it became available on the internet. I like how the people there  go all out to get information and news out to fans of the space race. NASA’s site covers more than the ISS and satellites. It also covers future missions, one of which that should tweak your curiosity is exploring Mars. NASA came up with a site (Be a Martian) that is absolutely worth visiting.

Why go there? To explore Mars! This is an educational site for ages 8 and below or 9 and above. This site seems focused on teaching as well as keeping people interested in the red planet. We humans will go there in the future, and students in class today will be the ones to take that daunting journey.

Why go to Mars? Are you kidding? Why did we go to the moon? To explore ‘a strange new world’ (thanks to Gene Roddenberry for that phrase), and Mars is a lot further away and it may hold answers to scientific questions we cannot learn on the moon. It has a higher gravity than the moon, but still much less than here on Earth. I look forward to the day when our astronauts step out on the surface of Mars and demonstrate we humans can and will push ourselves to travel to the planets and beyond in the near future.

To get started, you need to sign in and create a user name and password. Next, you need the current version of Silverlight to use the majority of the areas on the site, and that is checked for you and you are automatically moved to Microsoft’s site if you need to upgrade Silverlight. This was the only part of the site I did not like. I’d rather not install Silverlight but I did so I could see the animations. The image quality not a problem, but I’d rather use other existing products to see animations and wish NASA would add support for those products in the future.

There are a lot of places to explore, so after restarting my browser I looked around the site and was impressed. Excellent UI and graphics, great educational tool, and just plain fun. I also want to mention that there is a link on the main page where you can go to the Mars Exploration Program site, which is also worth a visit. They have a ton of excellent pictures taken by Mars explorers and the quality of the images is excellent.

POSITIVES

  • A good educational tool loaded with interesting information about Mars.
  • Well designed – excellent graphics and a nice user interface.

NEGATIVES

  • Uses Silverlight instead of Flash.

RECOMMENDATION

Check it out at http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/welcome. It’s worth the time to see the sites and maybe, just maybe, be inspired to consider a career in the aerospace industry so you could be ‘the one’ to actually go to Mars. What a thought.

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