By Katherine Sorrows
On Saturday we had an event called Mars Mania. 170 people came to the event. We had many different stations where visitors could learn different things about Mars and NASA. We had a model of Curiosity. We also had a full scale model of the wheel to help reference Curiosity’s size. Curiosity is the size of a mini coop. We had some new planetarium shows which were really cool. There was a video of the landing on Mars, and Chris Angell made a podcast about Curiosity and Mars.
Some of our stations included a station at which you could learn about how craters are formed as well as meteors and why meteorites burn. It turns out that meteorites burn not because of friction but because of the atmosphere and the pressure it exerts on the meteorite. We had a really fun demonstration for this. We had a compression syringe that can ignite a piece of toilet paper from the compression when you push on it really fast. The museum also has a piece of a meteorite which we had out. It is surprisingly heavy.
The station I worked at had inventions that NASA has made that have entered the consumer market. We had a guessing game of what NASA had invented and what they hadn’t, some of what was in that game were, tang, cordless tools, scratch- resistant lenses, and water filters. Tang was not actually invented by NASA but many visitors were surprised by that. We had a book at that station which is free and produced yearly. It is called Spinoff and it contains the inventions which NASA has made in that year that have entered the consumer market. Some things they invent to use we do not see in quite the same form, but the technology behind them we do see.
We also had a scale to place the planets on and to see how far away from the sun each planet is in comparison to the others.
We had a lot of fun with a mat and scale that calculates the weight that you would weigh on each planet. The gravitational force of each planet is different so you are pulled toward that planet with a different force. It also had some really fun facts about each planet.
Downstairs we had a hopscotch game to see how jumping would feel different on Mars due to the different gravitational pull.
We had a station in which you could calculate your age on Mars. While the days are approximately the same on Earth as they are on Mars the years are different. It takes longer for Mars to go around the sun.