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Welcome to the

Here Today; Gone to Mars Design Challenge

(available in printable format)

Congratulations! You have selected to participate in NASA’s worldwide Here Today; Gone to Mars Design Challenge. This challenge is primarily intended for students in grades 5-8, but teachers have been able to adapt our challenges to other grades as well, so all are welcome. This challenge addresses the theme of scientific fieldwork, in this case simulating fieldwork to be used on Mars. Locations for fieldwork are centered on Mars analogs, or areas on Earth that are similar to Mars in some way. By studying snowfields in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, our scientists hope to learn more about the development and use of technologies that will be needed to help understand and explore Mars.They will also learn about polar ice caps and the possibility that life that could exist there. Your students will be adapting what they learn by shadowing NASA scientists in Lassen and designing items needed for their mission to Mars.

In order to continue to receive funding for this type of program, it is necessary for us to receive feedback from our participants. As a participant in the Challenge, you will be asked to complete the tasks outlined in the schedule below. Please insure that these challenge programs can continue by helping us with some simple reporting:

Before the Challenge   
  • Administer Student Pre-Challenge Survey (online)
    Should not take more than 10 min. per student
Soon after registration/
before starting the challenge
During the Challenge  
  • Students research and design process
    with Experts available to help        
September 12
  • Submit Preliminary designs by
October 31
  • Experts review & give feedback on designs.    
October 31 – November 7
  • Submit final designs by.
November 21
  • Attend the live web cast.

Approximately December 6           

After the Challenge  
  • Administer Student Post-Challenge Survey (as above)           
  • Complete Teacher Reaction Questionnaire
    (about 20 min. online)                                                            
December 6-13


In order to accurately track and assess data and, at the same time, to ensure student confidentiality, you will need to assign a four-digit ID for each student. Please record your student names and ID numbers where you can find them after the challenge to be used in the post-challenge survey. This master list of ID numbers should be kept in a safe place throughout the Challenge so that you can refer to it in the event a student forgets his/her number.

Only you will know which student names are assigned to the ID numbers, so please make sure students properly enter their 4-digit number on the surveys and questionnaires.

NOTE: It is important that your students complete the Pre-Challenge Survey before you begin the Challenge activities. Go to:

Thank you for your interest in the Here Today; Gone to Mars Design Challenge. Instructional plans will be available as classroom Pre-Challenge Surveys are submitted.
We look forward to working with you over the next several months!


 FirstGov  NASA

NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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