Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Dance of the Martians

Figure from experiment 2 from Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars

Introduction

Is there life on Mars? Mars is a cold, dry, dusty place. Although there is evidence that liquid water once flowed on Mars’ surface, scientists have never seen—through telescopes or images sent back from rovers—plant or animal life on Mars. In fact, scientists haven’t even been able to detect bacteria or other single-celled life on Mars.

But that is not to say there are no Martians. At the moment, there are at least a few inhabitants on the planet, including two robot rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity. Opportunity, which landed on the red planet in 2004 for a 90-day mission, has far outlived an of its engineer’s expectations. For 14 years, it has traveled on the surface of the planet, collecting data and transmitting information to Earth. However, In June of 2018 Opportunity found itself in one of the most severe dust storms ever observed on Mars. The solar-powered robot went into hibernation because the sun was blocked by the dust storm. Whether it will become active again after the storm passes remains to be seen.

Curiosity is an automobile-sized, rolling science robot whose mission is to collect data to help answer the question "Did Mars ever support life?" Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 with a diverse set of equipment to search for life, including multiple cameras and sensors that are able to analyze gases, rocks, and soil. At the end of 2018, Curiosity was still sending data back to scientists on Earth!

Despite being much smaller than Curiosity and Opportunity, Codey Rocky has a lot in common with the Mars rovers. Given the right code, Codey Rocky can navigate rough terrain on its own and use sensors to explore its world. In this activity, you will become familiar with Codey Rocky’s movement capabilities.

Objectives

  • Become familiar with the blocks in the Action, Display, Lighting, and Speaker palettes.
  • Write a program in mBlock to make Codey Rocky move, light up, and make sounds.
  • Practice troubleshooting when problems arise.
  • Explore how the sequence of their blocks affects the motion of Codey Rocky.

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

1B-AP-08
Compare and refine multiple algorithms for the same task and determine which is the most appropriate.
1B-AP-15
Test and debug (identify and fix errors) a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended.

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 2 from Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars Lab Book

Coding with Codey Rocky: Mission to Mars 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.

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