By Avital Desmond, 10th Grade Student
On December 2nd, Derech Emunah students had the unique opportunity to visit the Museum of Flight and participate in a simulation of a trip to Mars in the Challenger Learning Center.
Students were able to choose the particular roles they wished to play to advance the mission's goals while they served on one of the many teams. Role choices included engineering, medical, or biological teams, to name a few.
Upon arrival, a guide directed us to a particular access room deep in the Museum. Our flight commander briefed us on our mission - to land on Mars - and explained what we needed to do to achieve that goal.
Students split into two groups. Each group consisted of one member of each of the various support teams.
The room designated for Group A students created the effect of living on Phobos, one of Mars’ moons. It looked and felt so real as if we were there on Mars.
Group B students entered a room designed to simulate a Spacecraft.
Each Group A student was assigned to communicate with their equivalent role partner in Group B. For example, as an engineer, I used my headset and messaging app to interact with the Group B engineer stationed in another room, in the “Spacecraft.”
Computers directed each role player precisely what they needed to do to:
Keep the Spacecraft and Astronauts safe, and
Complete all assigned tasks during their expedition to Mars
As an engineer on the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) team, my job was to instruct my co-team member on Phobos how to assemble part of the NASA Rover craft she needed to use on Mars’ surface.
When helping assemble the craft, I enjoyed finding the specific pieces we needed to attach. I cautiously gave directions making sure there were no faulty wires. Otherwise, the vehicle would not operate.
The entire simulation of the Mars mission is a new hands-on, interactive exhibit developed by the Museum of Flight. This adventure was indeed fun, thrilling, and educational. I know it gave me a chance to feel what it’s like to explore the unknown.