- Deliver an engaging science learning experience;
- Produce resources for schools in New Zealand
- Develop and refine methods for effective tele-education and outreach;
- Educate the public about the importance of space science missions;
- Foster international science and education connections and generate future opportunities for New Zealand partnerships.
The TasMars mission into the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is a follow on to the KiwiMars mission in 2012. Like KiwiMars, it has a joint Australian-NZ crew with additional participation from crew members from the US.
The name is chosen to reflect the common exploration heritage of Australia and New Zealand in the voyages of Abel Tasman who explorered the coastlines of our two countries in 1642. Tasman’s explorations are reflected and honoured in many place names in both countries. The spirit of exploration shown by Tasman and his antecedents in the aboriginal and Maori peoples of Australia and New Zealand is the same spirit that will one day take us to Mars and beyond.
The TasMars 2012 Project has two major components:
A crew of four will live and work at the Mars Desert Research Station for a period of two weeks,
from 27 January to 10 February 2013 (NZST). They will strictly follow the site protocols which help emulate the working and living conditions of a real Mars-base, as they perform science, research and exploration tasks; and communicate with educators and students 'back on Earth'.
TasMars participants will have a detailed work program of geology, microbiology, engineering, education and outreach during their two weeks at MDRS. They will be developing the scientific and engineering tools used on future Mars missions, working out ways to minimise negative impacts of exploration, and inspiring the next generation of Mars explorers through school programs and media coverage. TasMars will be continuously supported by experts in Australia, NZ and the US.
The education and outreach programme will be an online experiment which will allow schools around New Zealand to connect directly with the MDRS crew.
This will include:
- Online and printed material for students and the public
- Engagement with schools, to encourage relevant in-classroom science projects during the expedition;
- Post expedition activities, including school visits, classroom presentations, development of learning resources, and distribution of the final science and expedition reports.