Charlene AndersonSep 13, 2010

Mars Exploration Challenge Launches Today

The explorers who will someday walk on Mars are in school today.

Exactly who they are, we don't yet know. But we do know that they are among the students who are captivated by the wonders of science and the challenges of engineering.

But it's not easy to keep kids interested in science and math. To do that, we have to rely on inspirational teachers. And those teachers are always searching for topics to engage students and deepen their interests so that they will commit to doing what is hard.

To explore Mars is a possibility, a challenge, an adventure that can prick kids' imaginations and keep alive their interests in science and engineering. To take advantage of that, a new space-interest group, Explore Mars, is launching the Mars Education Challenge, a U.S. national contest for high school science teachers.

The teachers are being asked to develop ways to fit Mars exploration into their science classes. They can then submit their plans to a panel of judges anchored by representatives of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). They will select five regional winners and one national winner, who will receive his or her prize at the NSTA Convention in San Francisco next spring.

Because of our commitment to making Mars exploration happen, The Planetary Society has partnered with Explore Mars and NSTA for the education challenge. Aerojet Corporation is sponsoring the contest.

To learn more about the Mars Exploration Challenge -- and maybe alert a teacher you know to the potential -- visit the web site at

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