Community Notebook; Area Teachers Headed to Alaska to Explore Mars

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter

Jacksonville teachers PIA CARSWELL and AMANDA WILSON-KOSLOW have been selected to be part of Mars exploration and outreach activities in Alaska this summer. The Phoenix Mars Lander and Mars 2001 Odyssey missions have selected nine pairs of science teachers from across the country to become part of the next mission to Mars.

Carswell is a teacher with the Duval County Public School Science Resource Center and Wilson-Koslow teaches at Raines High School.

This summer, the teachers will immerse themselves in a week-long summer field experience in Fairbanks, Alaska, featuring current polar science research on both Earth and Mars.

Scheduled for launch in August 2007, the Phoenix Mars Lander will be the first spacecraft to dig into the surface of Mars and touch water-ice below the surface. The Phoenix Mission is operated for NASA by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at The University of Arizona in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin and the Canadian Space Agency.

"We hope to share our latest Mars discoveries with teachers, so that they, in turn, can share this knowledge with their students and other teachers in their communities," said Peter Smith in a news release. He is the Phoenix Mars mission principal investigator and senior research scientist at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

The Phoenix Mars Lander will arrive in the northern arctic of Mars in 2008 to investigate the nature and origin of water-ice buried there and the habitability of soils. The purpose of the teacher workshop in Alaska is to engage teachers in an opportunity to learn about the Phoenix Mars Lander through their own scientific investigations regarding permafrost and polar ice found here on Earth. …