The prospect of life on Mars has fascinated scientists and researchers for years, and it served as the basis for a popular interdisciplinary program from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) a few years ago called the Mars Millennium Project. Now, in conjunction with Space Day 2002 (May 2) and in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, NASA relaunched the project under a new title—the Imagine Mars Project. The project encourages K-12 students to consider what life would be like on the red planet and encourages them to take part in designing a mock society for its first 100 residents. The program is open to all sorts of projects and ideas. Students are encouraged to think creatively about aspects of science, art, and history here on Earth and then apply what they have learned to their Mars projects. For instance, students at an Arizona school researched how the ancient Anasazi Indians, a cliff-dwelling tribe, learned to live off the land and later applied their findings to a theory for inhabitants on Mars. In Colorado, one group of students designed a Mars rover to help aid settlers in transportation. All types of school-related groups and student organizations are encouraged to submit projects. The site includes an online gallery where students can explore ideas and inventions submitted from across the globe. Before starting their projects, kids can consult a Mars fact sheet and compare the planet to what they know of Earth.

http://ImagineMars.jpl.nasa.gov