Bringing the future to students |

Bringing the future to students

As two NASA satellites float in Mars’ orbit, South Lake Tahoe fifth- and sixth-grade students a few million miles away worked on a hospitable human habitat for the foreboding planet.

The habitat consists of six adjoining 10-feet by 10-feet rooms made of clear plastic inflated by six large fans. Inside are rooms for cooking, food study, oxygen and water refinement, medical care and cell and soil study.

It marks the peak of a three-week study of the planet, said Liz Ferguson, a science and computer teacher at St. Theresa Catholic School.

“It is very feasible and possible that in their lifetime there will be a habitat on Mars,” Ferguson said. “It teaches them how to work as a community. If you can work as a community, you can have success.”

Inside the bubble village, students wore blue or white depending on their responsibility as a scientist or medical officer.

Two black rabbits, Lawyer and Popeye, sat in a cage in the plant-and-animal-life area, which neighbored the cooking room. The sun, the lone energy source the students used, was drawn in almost every room.

Fifth-grader Anna Grigorieva said her favorite Mars fact was that Earth rested roughly 3 million miles away.

“I like the project but I don’t like Mars because I don’t like the color,” she said, attired in a medical uniform. “But I do like Neptune.”

Cian McDonnell enjoyed the fact that Mars’ largest canyon is three times bigger than Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

Bryan Pulerr was a member of the food-study room. Asked if the bubble habitat could survive on the surface of Mars, the sixth-grader only smiled and shook his head.

“Well, we couldn’t survive in this because it is open,” Pulerr said. “Besides, all the less gravity would crush this thing.”

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