On Saturday, February 4, we hosted our second NASA Astro Camp at the Mission Valley Library. Along with The Clueless FTC robotics team, we learned about NASA missions, rockets, and more, focusing on the Mars Sample Return Mission. Firstly, we learned a little bit about The Clueless, and watched a video of their robot. Then, we heard from our speaker, Dr. Rachel Kronyak, who shared about her work on the Mars Sample Return Mission at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One participant shared that “it was interesting to learn about how the rocks tell us information about Mars”.
Then, the participants created their own mission logos for patches, with many groups adding rockets, pictures of Mars, and other space-themed images. The first part of their mission was to build a Mars landing gear, using balloons, popsicle sticks, and cups to protect an egg. Almost all of our groups successfully prevented their eggs from breaking! After a quick break for snacks, we then learned about SuperCam, and how it analyzes Martian rocks. Participants then created systems to collect their own samples from coffee cake.
In order to return the samples to Earth, participants used an online simulation to program a robot to pick up a sample and deliver it to a rocket. We closed our workshop with stomp rockets, and learned about Newton’s laws and how to direct a rocket toward the target. One girl shared that “my favorite activity was the coffee cake collection because I liked getting to create my own project”.
Look out for information about our upcoming workshops!