What do we need to survive on Mars?

Thematic units of work with driving questions… this unit is aligned to Year 9 Physical Sciences in the Australian Curriculum.

Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models

Driving Question: What do we need to survive on Mars?

Hook: Introductory videos on becoming an interplanetary species.



Research what the conditions on Mars are like and how they differ to Earth. Share in a collaborative document/forum. Brainstorm what humans would need in order to survive on Mars.

Challenge One (HEAT): The temperature on Mars gets really cold. One of our first problems to solve in living on Mars may be how to survive in cold temperatures and stay warm.

Learn about heat as an energy form and about energy transfer through direct instruction and mini-prac activities.

Use this knowledge to design, perform and report on a practical investigation into the best insulation (best thickness, best colour, optimal material) in a space suit to keep an astronaut warm on Mars.

Challenge Two (LIGHT): Mars is really far away from Earth. What are the best ways to communicate between Mars and Earth and between colonies on Mars itself?

Learn about light and sound as energy forms and about reflection, refraction, total internal reflection, electromagnetic spectrum and waves through direct instruction and mini-prac activities.

Use this base knowledge to inquiry further with a research task. Questions to choose from for inquiry could include:

Why we can’t live stream from Mars? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kLvNH28Tgc

What would need to happen to get a rainbow on Mars?

You would need to communicate over long distances between colonies on Mars, with large and frequent dust storms. Research the benefits of communicating using optical fibres in these conditions over radio communication.


‐ Would you want to go to Mars? Why or Why not?

‐ What do you see as the advantages/successes of going to Mars?

‐ What do you see as the disadvantages/difficulties/struggles of going to Mars?

‐ What technologies will need to be developed to go to Mars?

What else do we need to survive on Mars? Food? Shelter? Transport? Communication? Clothing? Oxygen/Atmosphere? Invent a technology and sketch a blueprint of it.

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