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Asking For Presentation Suggestions, (I'm begging, actually.)
CosmicRocker
post Jan 19 2006, 03:56 AM
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I must prepare a visual presentation about Mars for about 3000 middle school to high school students as part of an educational program called Project Jason, which my company supports. The goal is to get them excited about science. Yesterday, I ordered 3500 red/cyan anaglyph glasses. cool.gif I wanted to post a new topic, asking members here for help selecting the best MER imagery to use. I plan to use some anaglyphs, to give the kids the feeling of being on Mars, exploring it in person. I also want to use a dust devil movie, a few of the more awesome color panoramas, probably some movies, and maybe even a MidnighMarsBrowser virtual panorama, if time permits. I'll have a PC projector to display large images on a screen, but I am also thinking of having some large panoramas printed for display.

I suspect much of what I want already exists, either on this forum, on the JPL web site, or among some of my own stuff. I'm going on the assumption that the authors of the stuff here will not object to my using anything, but I will ask for permission first.

The greatest problems are that I have to put something together by January 30th, and I may only be allowed 20 minutes. I have a wish list of things I need:

...four to six inspiring color panoramas,
...a couple of animations, particularly some anaglyph animations and/or of the arm at work,
...advice from anyone about a program that can create a movie that will zoom into and pan around a large panorama,
...any suggestions or advice from anyone about anything.

Because I only have such a short time slot, I am less interested in trying to tell the whole story of the Rovers, but more interested in using a few truly amazing, awe-inspiring, or just plain Wow images that might excite the students about space exploration.

Any help would be very much appreciated. I wish they would have given me more than 1.5 weeks to put this together. ohmy.gif mad.gif


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Jeff7
post Jan 19 2006, 04:27 AM
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At least three images I think would be nice:
Landing image from Spirit, with Columbia Hills in the distance, and then the panorama from the top of the hills.

Endurance panorama.

Maybe a shot of that huge dust devil that Spirit spotted near the top of the hills.

Summit panorama

This page has a panorama in 3d

Hills in the distance

I couldn't find the link at NASA, but here it is anyway: Earth from Mars

Endurance

Endurance anaglyph
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sattrackpro
post Jan 19 2006, 05:58 AM
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Go to THIS LINK and once the page has loaded, you can pan around the entire summit, pan up and down to look at the rover itself... hit save page as, then in options, select Web page complete. (Don't know if your browser supports this, but if not, download and install Firefox - for that option alone, it is worth your time.)

Save in a directory with your other images, you should be able to use this to wow the kids - it is like standing on a mountain on another planet, and turning 360 to see the entire landscape. (The bigger the view screen the better...)

Since you don't have much time, a minute or two of projecting this from your laptop would very much have that 'Awesome!' effect you're looking for.

As Jeff's prior suggestion, start with the landing - stress the thing wasn't guaranteed to last over 90 days - but, it made it to the mountains, climbed up on top, and recorded this view for us all - part of over 75,000 pictures Spirit has sent home. And, it's still going strong, over two years later - a fact we can thank the builders of the MER's for.

Perhaps kids can get excited about 'Space exploration' when they realize they don't have to go into space themselves to be major contributors to 'science.' The awesome design and performance of the MER's themselves is almost as astounding as are the pictures of Mars... meaning, it took engineering jobs to make this possible, so it may be helpful to tell kids that they dont have become astronauts to make major contributions to space exploration.

Good luck with your project... I'm sure you'll do just fine. biggrin.gif
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Shaka
post Jan 19 2006, 06:29 AM
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It seems to me that the scientific Bottom Line (puns intended) of MER is Martian water. If you can make jarosite and hematite chemistry exciting to teenagers, my hat is off to you! Barring that, I might suggest an animation or series of drawings that makes clear the process of aqueous formation of festoon cross-bedding in underlying sediments. You begin with a pond/lake/sea rippling across and shaping the sediments. You end with a cross-section that morphs into one of our MER images of "smiles".

Similarly, the process of 'blueberry' formation and release should be clearly portrayed.

Of course there is an orbiter-image preamble to the water story, from the polar caps, to scoured channels to Valles Marineris, but there is the shadow of the skeptics hanging over it! Still, some rapid switching between Martian and Earth aerial views of matching "water courses" offers a compelling prelude.

Of course there is the essential postscript to the water story: LIFE
Here the story shifts into the forward view of the follow-on missions: Mars Science Laboratory, coring landers, manned missions etc. At this point you can hand the story over to your audience . You will probably not observe the first Martian organism under a microscope. One of them may.
rolleyes.gif Good Stuff


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Pando
post Jan 19 2006, 07:11 AM
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I think it would be neat to end the presentation with an image that is as recent as you can possibly make it -- pull one off the exploratorium just before doing the presentation, if you can, and verify the time the image was taken (say "This image was taken only a few minutes/hours ago" or somesuch)...

This will add to the 'live' sensation and definately increase interest in following the rovers closely, something we all are addicted to here. smile.gif
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SkyeLab
post Jan 19 2006, 09:24 AM
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Hi,
How about using some of the trailer for the Disney Movie "Roving Mars" ?

http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/rovingmars/noflash.html

You could easily get permission as it is free publicity for them and it should have the desired impact factor .

Cheers

Brian


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Astro0
post Jan 19 2006, 12:04 PM
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My 'day job' means that I'm talking with students all the time.
When I'm giving a presentation on the Mars Rovers I always finish with Spirit's image of the Martian sunset.
See 'A Moment Frozen in Time' on the MER website: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/pre.../20050610a.html

Every image from the Rovers is astounding...we're looking at another planet!
I'm sure that users of this forum are like me and need their daily fix from the red planet, and are awestruck by every Haz-, Nav-, and Pan-cam image.

To the general observer though, most Mars images look like lots of places on Earth. What makes Spirit's sunset image unlike anything you see here is that it's all in reverse.

Our sky is blue during the day and we get pink and orange colours at sunset. On Mars (as this photo shows), it's the other way around - a pinky-orange sky during the day and blue at sunset!

Anyone can appreciate the setting sun, we've all seen one and thought how nice it looks. Spirit's image though is of OUR sun setting over the horizon of another world, a sight waiting for the first human explorers to "see" with their own eyes. Remind your students that if the first human missions to Mars take place around 25-30 years from now, then it will be the 5-20 year olds alive today who will be the most likely generation to take that first (next!?) small step. Challenge them to be that person, and to watch the sunset on Mars and to watch for a little bluish star in the sky to come out at night - our home, Earth.

Just my thoughts. Good luck with it.
Astro0
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helvick
post Jan 19 2006, 12:07 PM
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QUOTE (SkyeLab @ Jan 19 2006, 10:24 AM)
Hi,
How about using some of the trailer for the Disney Movie "Roving Mars" ?

http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/rovingmars/noflash.html

You could easily get permission as it is free publicity for them and it should have the desired impact factor .

Cheers

Brian
*

Or possibly the Maas Digital animation of Spirit - it really is superb and available in quite high res. It's an excellent set covering the launch stages, cruise phase, EDL, unpacking and egress then roving into the hills with some excellent context shots of the various manouvres. It's about 8 minutes or so in length. It's a bit on the long side but if you have the time.

The opening credits clearly state that it is for "educational not for profit use only" so if you're not charging for this you should be fine. Copyright is JPL\Stanford if you want to follow up and check with someone in authority in more detail (or maybe just ask Maas Digital themselves).

Maas Digital MER Animation home page.. Available in a bunch of resolutions (QT) for streaming\download and in Windows Media Format for download.
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Bob Shaw
post Jan 19 2006, 12:53 PM
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I spent years doing public talks on this, and other spaceflight topics. I always tried to 'personalise' things - the length of day on Mars, the odd way the moons move, the seasons, the odd relationship between the surface area of Mars and the land masses of Earth... ...all the sort of thing that could give the audience a handle on Mars.

Adding a 'fun' element also helps - I used to have a planet-building kit (call me Slartibartfast) which I used to show the differentiation of planetary bodies during the post-accretion phase. Materials: big plastic bottle, polystyrene chips (or ice), a handfull of old nuts and washers, and half a gallon of water. Method: Take two children, and allow to stand. While standing, explain the process of differentiation, and how it produces layers in a planet. Instruct the children to add the nuts and bolts to the bottle, plus the polystyrene (or ice). Shake well, and demonstrate a well-mixed body. Then, add water (using children). The mixture magically separates...

...next, pull from pocket an iron meteorite, a stoney-iron, and a stone. Discuss. Pass the meteorites round the audience - they'll love it, not least because they'll 'understand' why and where they formed (in the broadest terms).

That's just an example - I'm sure there's a way to build a shield volcano in the lecture hall!

So: give 'em something concrete - not just eye candy. Perhaps a 1/18 Mer, and a bit of string passed round the room showing the whole route at 1/18 scale? Or a cut-out set of Columbia Hills to do the talk from within? Or a solar panel with dust on it, and an air-blower? Or...

Bottom line: make it up-close, and personal!

Bob Shaw


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djellison
post Jan 19 2006, 01:01 PM
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I always finish with the most recent imagery I can find - and I always try to highlight the achievment of longevity.

Another usefull tool is to overlay the routemaps on to a local map at the same scale, and include a circle of 600m radius at the landing site to demonstrate how far they were SUPPOSED to go.

Mentioning the problems they've had, and the workarounds or fixes they have formulated is a good educational experience. Perhaps pitch the problem of low solar power near hills to them, and see if they can formulate the concept of driving to positive energy slopes as a solution.

Obviously, show DD movies, Eclipse movies, Driving movies - these all bring the whole thing to life very easliy.

I've tried to work ways to show the full extent and resolution of Pancam imagery within Powerpoint but have, to date, not succeeded. I typically show a tiny version of the mosaic within the screen, and then simply show consecutive stills of various areas of interest one after the other - perhaps this could be augmented by having highlighted points on the first overview pan before showing full screen zoom-ins.

I've looked into doing animations of this - much like the NASA-TV shots one sees, Adobe After effects can;t handle the size of images, but more pro. packages can - I have tried using Discreet (now Autodesk)'s Combustion package, with variable results.

Use 3d images sparingly, they dont work for everyone. DO include the FHAZ from Pan-Pos 2 at Endurance as an anaglyph, and a Navcam anaglyph from just outside Eagle Crater.

Do mention the story of how MGS brought Oppy to Meridiani, the hematite etc. It's a good story.

I've given about 8 MER related talks in the past year, and to be honest - you can't go wrong as the material is, without fail, astonishing smile.gif

Doug
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Bill Harris
post Jan 19 2006, 01:35 PM
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Oh, mercy, "all of the above".

Remember that young minds have limited attention spans and need some degree of eye-candy to keep their interest going. Keep it lively, keep it at their level, but for the proto-techies in the group, toss in some of the historical geology of the two areas. And include the elements of drama and destruction: the heatshield and Purgatory at Meridiani, for example. For Gusev, do include the quest for El Dorado, that adds a bit of intrigue to the tale. Although the climb into the Columbia Hills gave us some great data and views, the Inner Basin, etc, will be the real story behind this mission.

--Bill


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odave
post Jan 19 2006, 03:32 PM
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How about some of aldo12xu's driving movies, complete with soundtrack?


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elakdawalla
post Jan 19 2006, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 19 2006, 05:01 AM)
I always finish with the most recent imagery I can find - and I always try to highlight the achievment of longevity.
*

I agree completely with this one. Whenever I give a talk and flash pictures on the screen and say "these images came from the rovers/Cassini yesterday..." I always get a gasp, from kids and adults alike. And another gasp when I tell them they can easily go see yesterday's pictures for themselves, that they are available to everybody. Nearly no one knows that, tragically.

--Emily


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djellison
post Jan 19 2006, 06:16 PM
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Most of the talks I give are in the evening, and if I can, I end up with "and this was taken this morning"

It's a big gasp-oo-wow-laugh-woah noise, it's great. The only other time I've heard it is with the FHAZ Anaglyph from Oppy at Pan Pos 2 at Endurance, and 3D MEX imagery.

I LOVE showing the really dirty Sundial, mentioning the really low power situation, how close to critical etc - and then going "and then one day...." click...clean sundial - and it gets a big laugh tongue.gif

Doug
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hendric
post Jan 19 2006, 06:37 PM
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Does anyone plan to keep/archive these presentations? With permissions, it would be nice to have prepackaged presentations we could use ourselves.


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