High school students to build “Mars” landers at York U


TORONTO, December 7, 2011 – More than 200 Grade 11 physics students will try to “land” eggs in the rotunda of York University’s Vari Hall on Wednesday using landers they have built in one hour.

The event, part of Engineering Day at York, will teach students about the challenges of designing landers such as NASA’s Phoenix lander, which touched down on Mars on May 25, 2008, carrying meteorological equipment whose design and construction was led by York scientists.

Ben Quine, a professor of space engineering at York, will give the students a guided tour of the Red Planet and describe the Northern Light mission, a Canadian plan to deploy a robotic lander on the planetary surface.

Space Engineering Professor Hugh Chesser will speak about the many challenges Mars landers face in surviving shock and acceleration during entry into the Martian atmosphere, and share some of the ideas engineers have used to face these challenges.

Teams of students will then be given mystery kits of materials to build their own landing system that will allow their payload – a raw egg – to land safely on the surface of Mars, or in this case, the floor of Vari Hall.

The four schools taking part are Holy Name of Mary Secondary School in Brampton, Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, and Thornhill’s Westmount Collegiate Institute and Thornhill Secondary School.

WHAT: Engineering Day at York U – Egg lander competition for high school teams

WHEN: Wed. Dec. 7, 2011, 10am to 2pm

WHERE: Vari Hall, York University Keele campus. Lectures in Vari Hall A.

MAP: Building 30 on Map

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Students landing eggs on the floor of Vari Hall at 12:30pm. EVE, the rover built by the York University Rover Team, 1:30 to 1:50pm.

Media Contact:
Lindsay Amyot, Faculty of Science & Engineering, York University, 416 736 2100 x30405, lamyot@yorku.ca
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101, wallsj@yorku.ca