Crew 260 Mission Summary Report 04 Nov 2021
Crew member experience highlights:
As I reach the end of my third sim with Spaceward Bound Utah, I find myself reflecting on the impact of this program. There is no doubt the teachers who participate in Spaceward Bound Utah benefit heavily from their time at MDRS. These crew members arrive with excitement and enthusiasm and leave carrying an even greater passion for their life’s work along with a wealth of resources. SWB Utah teachers continue to collaborate long after their time at MDRS comes to a close, providing a valuable support system for each other. Through promotion of the SWB Utah program, alumni also serve as ambassadors whose enthusiasm, innovative integration of the Mars analog experience, and curricular modifications spread beyond the walls of their own classrooms to inspire and encourage other teachers who are not members of the program. And the biggest beneficiaries of the SWB Utah program are the students – those who are or will be in SWB Utah teachers’ classrooms, those who will be in the classrooms who receive outreach support from SWB Utah, and those who will have the opportunity to participate in a Mars analog experience. Without a doubt, the positive impact of Spaceward Bound Utah will have a ripple effect as more and more teachers, students, and community members are directly or tangentially exposed to the program.
-Jen Carver-Hunter, Mountain View Elementary School
I am in awe of the MDRS and appreciate the opportunity to participate in Spaceward Bound Utah. I especially enjoyed getting to know the other teachers and scientists. This has been one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. Living and exploring as an astronaut was something that I never dreamed I would experience.
-Théo Anderson, Canyon Elementary School
The Utah desert is always a magical place. Experiencing Utah’s Colorado Plateau at MDRS has been a one-of-a-kind experience. I arrived on Sunday excited to meet new science teachers and eager to experience Mars. This week has moved quickly, and I take away great experiences and memories. Perhaps my favorite part of being on Mars was exploring the rock formations and collecting rock samples. Wearing the space suits was the most challenging part of the sim. The suits require a multistep process to put on, and once astronauts suit up, the mobility and visibility changes. Driving the rover while suited up involved some maneuvering, but every rover expedition was exciting and fun. Cooking and eating with the crew was another enjoyable part of the experience. The crew engaged in insightful and interesting conversations. We collaborated with one another, offered suggestions, and provided insight about different subjects. This week at MDRS has been memorable. I plan on sharing my learning and experiences with my students. Thanks, MDRS!
-Adela Genoves, Kearns High School
This has been a phenomenal experience. I have long dreamt of being an astronaut, and this experience helped me to fulfill that dream in the best way possible, only the fun parts! I cannot wait to share my experiences on this ultimate adventure with my family and my students, and hopefully that will ignite the spark in someone else!
-David Joy, Wahlquist Jr High School
The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me as a Utah educator. Living in close quarters with new teammates, experiencing EVAs, astrobiology, and learning about the geologic Martian landscapes are highlights of the mission for me.
I believe the motto “Sim, Science, Education” is fitting for the mission. We experienced the Sim, learned a lot of science, and had a roundtable to incorporate our findings in our classrooms on Earth.
For anyone considering the value of this experience: Do it! Don’t think, just fill out the application.
For administrators: Send your teachers at whatever level they teach.
For the Mars Society: Thank you! I could not experience this in any other location, and I appreciate the facility, the landscape, and the fabulous director (Shannon) and assistant director (Atilla) currently at the facility.
-Tracy Davidson, InTech Collegiate Academy
Phenomenal is the best word to explain my experience here at MDRS! I was blown away by the commitment and knowledge of Shannon, Atila, and our Commander Jen. I have learned more about astrogeology and space in general than I could ever learn inside of a classroom. Learning by doing instead of direct instruction is the best approach for education and that’s definitely how they do it down here. Now my students will be able to not only see the many different rocks that I collected near MDRS, but touch! And if they pay their cards right, they’re even able to lick a dinosaur bone.
Sim Science Education
-Katie Miller, Maple Grove Middle School
Since I got accepted to be a part of the MDRS program I have been very excited, but I don’t think I quite knew what to expect. My expectations were not disappointed! The whole experience was to simulate what it might be like for some of the first teams to live on Mars. It was fascinating to go into the Sim and live life as if we were on the red planet. If we wouldn’t be able to do it on Mars then we couldn’t do it in the Sim. This especially meant that we couldn’t go outside to do an EVA without our space suits. That was one of the most interesting parts of my whole time here and something I will always remember! I loved learning about the geology of Mars and how this area is a true Martian analog. But more than anything my time here on “Mars” will help me to be a better teacher in the classroom. Having real life experiences like this to bring back to my students makes science more relevant for them. Also, the activities we did I can use and adapt to my lessons as well. I am so glad I got to have my experience on Mars! J
-Brandon Barth, Independence High School