Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Houston, This is Codey

Figure from experiment 1 from Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars


Did you know it takes 8 minutes for light to travel from the sun to earth? Light travels very fast, but the solar system is very, very large. Communicating with robots—and, one day, people—on Mars is tricky because messages can only travel as fast as light waves.

Look at the orbits of Earth and Mars. You can see that sometimes Mars and Earth are closer together and sometimes they are further apart. When Mars and Earth are close, it takes as little as 4 minutes for messages to travel between the planets. But when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun, it can take 21 minutes! A lot can happen to a robot on an alien planet in 21 minutes. Because communication is so slow between Earth and Mars, Martian robots need to be able to be able to do much on their own, such as navigate around obstacles.

In this activity, you will get a chance to create a simple communication program using mBlock 5 software or the mBlock app.


  • Become familiar with the mBlock 5 software or mBlock app.
  • Write a Codey Rocky program in mBlock software or mBlock app.
  • Run a program on Codey Rocky.
  • Practice troubleshooting when problems arise.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Standards

Test and debug (identify and fix errors) a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended.
Discuss computing technologies that have changed the world, and express how those technologies influence, and are influenced by, cultural practices.

Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Houston, This is Codey
2Dance of the Martians
3Surviving the Desert of Mars
4Wild, Wild Mars
5Daily Life on Mars
6Surveying Mars

Experiment 1 from Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars Lab Book

<i>Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

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