What would you say if you had a chance to meet the second person to ever walk on the moon who was also part of the Apollo 11 crew? While in Washington, D.C. for the 2015 National Book Festival, Buzz Aldrin sat down with Emily and Thomas to answer some of their questions and others submitted by friends via Facebook before talking about his new book, Welcome to Mars.
For two kids who happen to have a passion for learning about all things space, this was an incredible opportunity to learn from an American hero. For over 15 minutes, the kids sat riveted by Buzz’s responses to their questions as they learned what technology from today he wished he had up in space during his missions, what wows him about space exploration today, how his career path might have gone if he hadn’t been selected for the astronaut program, what was going through his mind as he was about to set foot on the moon, his favorite space food, and so much more. Take a look!
When asked about the priority for space exploration, Buzz didn’t mention the possibility of living on Mars like we hoped he would. The kids had been reading Welcome to Mars, his vision for creating the first city on Mars for the future generation of kids he likes to call Generation Mars and were excited about discussing the challenge of creating the first city on Mars but alas, we ran out of time but he tweeted us!
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) September 5, 2015
About Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin
As a former teacher and parent who seeks opportunities to get my kids thinking about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics in creative ways, I appreciate that Welcome to Mars does just that. Welcome to Mars provides a ton of information about the Red Planet that is presented in a kid-friendly and practical way. Kids are introduced to the content by being welcomed as Martian pioneers with the task of building the first city on Mars that requires them to think about what they’re reading and apply it to the challenge. They have to consider the planet’s features, how to fund getting into orbit (it costs tens of millions of dollars!), building rockets that will protect them against extremely cold temperatures and lack of air when launched, why the “launch window” is so important to consider when launching a transport and building permanent structures, and so much more. Pictures, text features that pull out important quotes highlight facts, activities are interspersed throughout the book to keep kids interested in learning about Mars. Pages are color coded so kids can find content quickly and blue pages with activities provide hands-on science lessons that use items you have around your house. Activities interspersed throughout the book include:
- Creating a clock to show the different orbits of Earth and Mars to see how often they pass each other to orbit the sun
- Understanding how gravity can affect spacecraft landings
- Using a telescope and the ecliptic to find Mars at night
- Comparing the sizes of Earth and Mars in three different ways
- How Mars settlers might use wall hangings to light up or darken their rooms in dwellings that are in caves or underground to protect from radiation
- The warming of the Martian south pole with flour and marshmallows
- Exploring pressure differences on Mars and Earth to better understand why dwellings will need to be round
- Building a sample dwelling to show off your Mars habitat design
Summary To say we’re fans of Welcome to Mars is an understatement! It appeals to 11 ½ year old Emily as much as it does to her 9 year old brother. I love that the text is just right for both of them and they can think through some of the challenges that come with inhabiting Mars together.
National Geographic Kids is providing a copy of Welcome to Mars as reader giveaway! To enter, leave a comment sharing what you would ask Buzz Aldrin if you had the chance to meet him. For an extra chance to win, complete the above and feel free to tweet this daily:
Excited to read Welcome to Mars by @TheRealBuzz after reading review on @TechSavvyMama #GenerationMars #NGKInsider
I received a copy of Welcome to Mars as a National Geographic Kids Insider and the opportunity to interview Buzz through my work with them and PBS Kids as a #PBSKidsVIP. Amazon Affiliate are links included in this post. All opinions are my own and those of my two space fans.