37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 13 Education and Outreach
Poster, Monday, September 5, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Foyer

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[13.01] MarsQuest: Bringing the Excitement of Mars Exploration to the Public

P. B. Dusenbery, C. A. Morrow, J. B. Harold (Space Science Institute)

We are in the midst of an extraordinary era of Mars exploration with missions like NASA's Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor and ESA's Mars Express spacecraft along with NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers returning results that expand our knowledge and understanding of the Red Planet. To bring the excitement of Mars exploration to the public, the Space Science Institute (SSI) of Boulder, CO, has developed a comprehensive Mars Education Program that includes: 1) large and small traveling exhibits, 2) workshops for educators and docents, and 3) an interactive Web site called MarsQuest Online (in partnership with TERC and JPL). This program will be presented and offered as a good model for actively involving scientists and their discoveries to improve science education. The centerpiece of SSI's Mars Education Program is the 5,000-square-foot traveling exhibition, MarsQuest: Exploring the Red Planet, which was developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and several corporate donors. The MarsQuest exhibit is on a six-year tour that began in 1998. The exhibit is currently at the Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. The Institute has also developed Destination: Mars, a mini-version of MarsQuest that is designed for smaller venues. Workshops for educators and docents are conducted at host sites. They are designed to inspire and empower participants to extend the excitement and science content of the exhibitions to students and museum visitors. MarsQuest Online is a Web site that uses the MarsQuest exhibit as a framework for online interactives that delve deeper into Mars science. The Mars Education Program also provides a context for educational research on effective educational programming and web-based versus exhibit delivery of interactives. The results of this research inform subsequent exhibit projects, (e.g. Giant Planets) and are disseminated to the broader informal science community.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
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