The “Mars Exploration Rover” missions will land on Mars in January 2004. NASA has given 13 teams of high school students the chance to help out on various research projects related to the mission. Once the rovers have landed on Mars, these teams (composed of teachers and students) will spend a week at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab learning about Mars and the rovers.
Each of the two rovers that will be landing on Mars carry the “Athena Science Payload.” This set of scientific instruments will help scientists search for evidence of liquid on the planet’s surface. You can learn more about the Athena Project on their web site. The research team posts mission updates which allow you to follow along with their progress. The Athena team has collected a number of different Mars-related classroom activies and made them available on their web site, along with educational resources for teachers.