4 July 2002
Mars 45 Years From Now


Adding flesh to the skeletons of a Mars exploration program. Pictured here is the framework of the EuroMars base to be built this coming summer

Paris (ESA )  -
From 4 to 10 October 2002, the Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) will celebrate World Space Week by giving young Europeans the chance to tell the world their ideas on what daily life on Mars might be like 45 years from now.

In 1999, the United Nations declared the week of 4 through 10 October "World Space Week": 4 October being the celebration of the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and 10 October the anniversary of the first treaty on space in 1967. A theme is defined every year, on which projects at local, regional, national or international level are developed. This year's theme will be "Space and daily life."

The Spaceweek International Association is responsible for the co-ordination of the events.

The Education Office's aim with this project is to inspire young Europeans to imagine their future, while applying their knowledge from school. We will ask them to think about what life in space will be like in 45 years' time (as 2002 is the 45th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik), giving special thought to a permanent establishment on Mars.

The project Space and daily life ... in 45 years -- the case of the Martian Base is being developed in cooperation with Parsec, a French educational organisation. Teachers will be free to choose the emphasis they want to place on the project, according to the age of the children or the discipline they teach.

Disciplines that could be involved:

  • Life sciences: What is it about Earth that makes it habitable for human beings? What are the existing features of Mars that would help it support human life? What would have to be made on Mars so that human beings could live there (e.g. air, heat, water, food, etc.)?
  • Physics/chemistry: Identify the existing technologies on Earth that would be needed on Mars (e.g. electricity, manufacturing of water and atmosphere, vehicles on the surface of Mars or between Mars and Earth, communications)
  • Maths: Calculate the surface areas (for habitation, agriculture, etc.), volumes (of air, water, etc.), masses (of food, propellants, etc.) and distances (for travel, light-speed communications, etc.) associated with human habitation and living
  • Arts/architecture: Design a base that will provide for all basic human needs
  • Geology/geography (e.g. choice of terrain), psychology or sociology (number of people, choice of profession, what has to be provided for a good quality of life, etc.)

This project is adaptable to various age groups, from primary (with simple analysis) to secondary level, with deeper analysis of the necessary technologies. In the best case, all disciplines should be combined. Classes, groups and individuals can compete. All choices made in the course of the project must be explained and justified, thus also employing language and composition skills (mother tongue or foreign languages).

The children will have to discuss what is needed, whether it exists on Mars, or how it can be provided. Each teacher will have some guidelines for the systems to be planned. This activity is intended to take place during World Space Week itself; therefore, the final deadline for sending proposal entries to ESA is 31 October 2002.

Mars quick facts Orbit: 227,940,000 km (1.52 AU) mean distance Diameter: 6,794 km Martian day: 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds Martian year: 669 Martian days, 687 Earth days Average temperature: 218 K (-55 C) Minimum temperature: 140 K (-133 C) (at the winter pole) Maximum temperature: 300 K (27 C) (summer dayside) Surface area: about the same as the land surface area of the Earth

National winners from each member state will be selected based on the thoroughness or innovation of the proposed solutions. From these, European winners will be chosen. These winning projects will be presented on the ESA website. The European winners will then be able to compete at an international level with all of the projects participating in World Space Week.

More information about the Mars 2047 competition is available, as well as a description of a selection of World Space Week educational projects. You may download these documents in PDF format from this page: see "More about Mars 2047" and "Teacher's guide" (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents).


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