Monday, April 19, 2010

Kids' Week: Be A Martian!


No more budget whining in April, just keeping it whimsical for Spring... (because I get worked up enough watching the NHL playoffs. Last night, my favorite team scored on their own net. Honestly. Who scores on their own… oh, nevermind, don't get me started...)

But anyway, if you're a kid, this week's for you!

If you're a parent, I hope you'll share these with your young'uns and inspire them to be excited about our space program! If you're a childless adult like me... come on, don't pretend you don't like animations and coloring books, because I'll be sharing lots of fun things this week that even big kids will happily play with =)

NASA's Be A Martian
First up is NASA's brilliant "Be A Martian" site, where you can be an Intrepid Explorer, Knowledge Creator, Pioneering Innovator, Lifelong Learner or a Seeker of Awe & Wonder on Planet Mars!

Links everywhere take readers to various NASA projects, showing updates on orbiters, landers and rovers that all work together to study planet Mars.

Did you know there's an area on Mars called Land of the Blueberries? Not to mention Rippling Dunes, Land of the Sirens, and Plains of the Warrior Women. There are also possible ancient sea beds, giant volcanoes, a grand canyon (many times the size of the one on Earth)... such is the discovery inside the clickable "tourist atlas," a Silverlight animation that allows you to spin around the globe!

Pillownaut Martian Profile
I have kangaroo robot sidekick. I call him Ted. We took the red planet's Citizen Oath, and we have a blast counting craters, mapping Martian terrain for merit badges, and watching short films in the Two Moons Theatre.

The site also has a fascinating educational section about "Mars Analogs" on Earth, so one may view areas of our own planet that are most like the extreme environment on Mars, where scientists test equipment being developed for spaceflight.

In the Martian Town Hall Polling Place, it's entertaining to see what questions the kids come up with there... my favorite question so far is:

Martian Poll
That's an awful lot of folks who think going to Mars would be worth leaving Earth forever? Wow.

The best way to navigate between toys is to use the "Sitemap" link, and don't forget to join the Pathfinder Innovation Contest...!