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Auckland's Mission Heights Primary School has been on a "mission= high" recently, communicating with a crew on a mock Mars exploration missi= on in the Utah desert.
"The students were able to communicate with the team, learn more about t= heir work programme, and about the Red Planet itself," said Mr Wilcock. The= classroom link-up was facilitated by KiwiSpace's Education Coordinator Har= itina Mogosanu.
Following on from last year's KiwiMars missi= on, the TasMars 2013 Team has just completed a two-week= analogue mission to study planetary science, engineering, biosecurity and = human factors at the mock Mars base.
Two members of the crew were from NASA AMES (David Willson and Jen Blank= ). Blank is also a member of the rover team that landed the Curiosity Rover= on Mars in August 2012 and she is a geologist for Curiosity=E2=80=99s CHEM= CAM. Willson is an Australian engineer working on Mars exploration tec= hnologies. The other two members are Melanie Newfield, Biosecurity man= ager at New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries, and Emma Braeg= en, an aeronautical engineer from Australia working for BAE Systems.
"This was an exciting opportunity for students to talk to real scie= ntists doing real exploratory work at the Mars Desert Research Station in U= tah," said Haritina Mogosanu who was also a Mission Commander at MDRS in 20= 12.
"Students don't n= eed a passion for Mars, just a passion for knowledge and the idea that= anything is possible if you have the courage to try it=E2=80=9D, Mogo= sanu added.
She said that Mr. Wilcock=E2=80=99s class were the consummate junior sci= entists and came with questions ranging from =E2=80=9CWhat's Mars' atmosphe= re like?", "How does gravity work on Mars?" and "What is the soil like?=E2= =80=9D
About the TasMars Mission
KiwiSpace ran a two week mission at MDRS from 27 January to 10 February = NZST, with a crew of four scientists from NASA, Biosecurity NZ and Mars Soc= iety Australia.
ABOUT KIWISPACE FOUNDATION
KiwiSpace Foundation is a non-profit organisation seeking to inspire the= next generation of space scientists. The Foundation aims to showcase the b= enefits and opportunities that space applications provide NZ; highlight the= many opportunities for New Zealanders to work in the global space communit= y; and enhance national space capabilities and education programmes.
To learn more about KiwiSpace, visit http://www.kiwispace.org.nz<= /a>.
MISSION DIRECTOR - TASMARS 2013
+64 21 269 2= 908
+64 21 622 379
PO Box 301780, Albany, Auc= kland 0752, New Zealand.
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The students of Mission Heights School in Auckland, talking with cre= w Journalist and Mission Specialist Melanie Newfield at MDRS via Missi= on Control Wellington (Haritina Mogosanu)
The TasMars2013 crew brought along a small replica of the Curiosity = rover currently on Mars.