January 10, 2018
Students in Massooma Pirbhai's Introduction to Astronomy class can now add "building a Mars Rover" to their résumés.
After a lesson on the 1960s space race, Pirhbhai decided to try having her class assemble a small replica about the size of a remote-control car.
"If these students want to learn about astronomy they need to understand the hard work and technology that goes into discovering outer space," said Pirbhai, assistant professor of physics.
"I don't want this class to be a boring lecture. I want my students to get hands-on experience so that they can apply the construction of the rover to something else in their life."
Each group received a kit, complete with the nuts, bolts and screws that make up the rover.
"I've always loved space since I was a little kid, so being able to learn more about it and build a working object that has the ability to do so many things was incredible!" said Michael Bernaschina '18.
Teaching assistant Hannah Sage '20 helped students understand the formulas and mechanics of the rover.
"It was so exciting to see people enjoying this area of science, and the fact that they are learning something from me makes it even more rewarding," she said.
The project was so successful that Pirbhai said she plans to continue it in the future.