Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity

 Spirit and Opportunity are two of NASA's most important Mars rovers for the Mars exploration. Landing on Mars in January of 2004, they have collected and tested numerous amounts of interesting looking rocks to find any sign that there was water and possibly life on Mars. They have done experiments, taken pictures, and explored many different landscapes that have never been seen before on earth. One of the discoveries Spirit found on Mars happened when she broke her right front wheel. She disturbed some sand and what formed there was pure silica, a compound that usually forms in hot springs and in volcanic cracks where hot water steams out. This was a huge discovery because it meant that that environment was able to support life on Mars. They're initial mission was only expected to run 90 days. However, through the harsh extraterrestrial climate, could they make it even til then? Here is the timeline for both Spirit and Opportunity starting from their launch dates.

But first, lemme take a selfie

What I thought was a big strength in this book is the way they kept this journey interesting while still teaching readers about Mars. The rovers were written as characters who think and feel so the response of the reader would become connected emotionally to the rovers and to care about their journey. Both Spirit and Opportunity have put their scientists and engineers as well as readers on an emotional roller coaster. This type of powerful journey shows readers how important this mission is to the people behind it and how they have worked at it and made it a reality. The amazing images that were used in this book helped relay the meaning of the reason the rovers are on Mars to the reader. These stories of Spirit and Opportunity can inspire anyone, including young adults to pursue their dreams.

Here is a semi-cheesey animation video of the landing process for both Spirit and Opportunity.

A difficulty I found in this book was the moments of inactivity that the rovers were facing. There would be months of inactivity and it was frustrating as a reader because of the emotional attachment to the rovers that the rovers weren't moving or they weren't finding anything. This also gives us a window into what the scientist's were going through as they were waiting to hear from the rovers and as they were finding nothing new. This shows the reader how dreams can be tested and how dreams can prevail if they are believed in. This book is important to students because it shows the importance of science and engineering and how they can be used to create and fulfill amazing dreams.
Here is a video of the scientists and engineers behind the Mars explorers watching as Opportunity lands on Mars.
Here is Spirit and Opportunity's NASA website for more videos from the creators as well as  images from Mars.
And Here is Spirit and Opportunity's Official Twitter for more of their personalities.


marty edwards said...

Great review! This sounds like exactly the type of book I would have read (I still might) when I was younger. I used to be obsessed with space, nerd that I am. Good choice in videos included as well. Nicely done.

Olga Cruz said...

The complete opposite from Edward I am not a nerd when it comes to space, but the videos were interesting. I would say I will probable read this book, because I am looking to diverse my reading. For now I only read stories that are influential or a love story. With your description and the interesting videos I would say I would choose this book to start my diversity. Good post!