Remote Sensing Beta Test – Science Activity 1: Introducing Mars and Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing: Activity – Science S1 card front

Activity Timing

10 min. Reminder of the Goal
30 min. Explore Landforms
20 min. Search for Evidence of Water
10 min. Reflect

70 min. Total

Prep Snapshot

Prep Time: 60 min 

  • As needed, dry sand the day before. 
  • Set up Water and Wind Stations. 
  • Print resources. 


CTX: Context Camera, a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 

HiRISE: High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 

Lander: a non-moving spacecraft for exploring a planet or moon 

Landform: a shape on the surface of a planetary body 

Mars Helicopter: a spacecraft that flies on Mars using spinning rotors 

Orbiter: a spacecraft designed to circle around a planet or moon without landing on it 

Rover: a vehicle for exploring a planet or moon 

Remote Sensing Vocab List

Remote Sensing FAQs

21st Century Skills Connection

Critical Thinking

Science Practices

  • Developing & Using Models 
  • Analyzing & Interpreting Data 

Activity Overview

Youth explore how different landforms are formed by wind and water, then examine images of landforms on Mars and Earth to find evidence of water. 

Guiding Question

Which landforms on Mars hold clues about past water? 

Youth Will Do

  • Explore how water and wind create landforms. 
  • Compare landforms on Earth and Mars. 
  • Interpret image data to find safe and scientifically interesting locations. 

Youth Will Learn

  • NASA is interested in learning whether Mars could have once supported life. 
  • Life on Earth depends on water. 
  • NASA spacecraft take pictures of Mars and send the images back to Earth as data. 

Videos Related to this Activity

Additional Resources