Beep and Boop's Game / Constellation Prize
Episode #128 / Length: 29 minutes
"Beep and Boop's Game" - The kids help Dr. Rafferty and Bergs get Mars Rover BOOP over a ravine on the red planet by simulating actions in the DSA "Mars Yard" using BEEP (Boop's sister)! Trial and error leads to success. Along the way, the kids learn just how scientists communicate with far away rovers - through satellites above Mars. The kids then solve a new mystery set up by Bergs, figuring out that Beep and Boop are communicating about... a game of Mars/Mars Yard tic-tac-toe they're playing! Curriculum: A good amount of communication between Mars and Earth goes through satellites. Rovers send images, along with instrument and status data, back to Earth. Extrapolating from the data, the scientists send commands to the rover, which can take 4-24 minutes to be received due to the distance. Rovers are often on their own, carrying out commands and sending image data to overhead satellites. The rover's commanders may tell it to move toward a new rock, grind a rock, analyze a rock, take photos, or gather other data with other instruments. "Constellation Prize" - When Mindy thinks she's found her own star, the other kids explain how stars are labeled and identified by constellations. Mindy eventually learns that she hasn't found a new star, but that she CAN create her own version of a constellation by connecting patterns in the sky. Curriculum: A constellation is a group of stars that make an imaginary shape in the night sky. In different parts of the world, people have made up different shapes out of the same groups of bright stars, like a game of connect-the-dots. In the past, constellations were useful for navigating at night and for keeping track of the seasons. They are now useful for identifying parts of the sky astronomers are studying. Because all the stars are at different distances, the constellations would look totally different to inhabitants of another planet orbiting another star.