Past KTU Programs - Kids' Tech University (KTU)
Dr. Phil ChristensenApril 18, 2009
“Why Can’t Humans Survive on Mars?”

An interactive session led by Dr. Phil Christensen



Presentation Slides

Regents Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the Department of Geological Science at Arizona State University

Mars would be an exciting place to visit, with interesting landscapes and the possibility of alien life. However, it would be very hard to live there. When astronauts go to Mars they will have to deal with a very harsh environment in order to live and work. What do we know about the planet and how would we build the habitats, spacesuits, and rovers that would allow astronauts to survive? The robotic spacecraft we've sent to study Mars have told us a lot about what to expect - but what do we still need to know and what are the main challenges that we will need to overcome?

Dr. Christensen is a Regents Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the Department of Geological Science at Arizona State University. His research interests focus on the composition, physical properties and processes, and morphology of planetary surfaces, with an emphasis on Mars and the Earth. He is the principal investigator for the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instruments. He is also a co-investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, who is responsible for building and operating the Mini-TES instruments. Dr. Christensen is also known as "Dr. C" on a NASA website where he answers children's questions about Mars.

April 2009 - Hands-On Exhibits & Events
After each KTU interactive session the students are escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students enjoy the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Virginia Tech community.

April 2009 - Exhibitors
1. VT-STEM
2. Dr. Alex Leonessa
3. Virginia Tech Department of Geosciences
4. Virginia Tech Myers Lawson School of Construction in Building Construction Department
5. Virginia Tech Human Factors and Ergonomic Society
6. Virginia Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering
7. Department of Engineering Education
8. Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering Department
9. Virginia Tech Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
10. Virginia Tech Institute of Distributed and Distance Learning
11. Virginia Tech Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity
12. Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech
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April 2009 - KTU Film Festival Showcase
Dr. Caitlin Kelleher did a wonderful job showing the kids how to use the www.alice.org computer programming software. This software provides a great opportunity to bring children together and cultivate imagination to produce movies! In order to encourage this we sponsored the first KTU Film Festival with screenings and awards on April 18th, 2009!

On April 18, 2009, the KTU Film Festival was held on the Virginia Tech campus, and it was a great success! All of the participants did a fantastic job and the movies were outstanding!

Karlee Kirtley was the recipient of this year's "Dr. Caitlin Kelleher Honorary Award" for her film: "The Ninja, the Indian, and the Indian Chick."