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Home Demo 02

There was once water on Mars-that much is certain. How do scientists know that? By investigating channels on the Martian surface that are believed to have been created when water was in abundance sometime in Mars' past. Here's a way to create your own Martian channels and discover how after the water is gone, the effects of erosion-the slow wearing away of soil-has a long-lasting effect. This experiment would make a great piece of a science fair project.

What You Do

  1. Poke several holes in the bottom of the paper cup.
  2. Fill the aluminum cookie sheet with the plaster, using the Popsicle stick to smooth it out.
  3. Positioning the tray at an angle, pour water from the pitcher into the cup, allowing it to "rain" down on your Martian landscape. Experiment with different types of precipitation using another paper cup, or test out different angles.
  4. In the corner, make a small channel with your Popsicle stick.
  5. Sprinkle sand over the surface when you're done and allow to dry for a few days. Compare and observe the different channels.
  6. For a final touch, paint your martianscape!

What Did You Find?

The channels you created with water look smoother and rounder than the one you made with the stick. These same types of observations clue scientists in on how the channels on Mars were formed. Close and thorough examination of all evidence and samples from Mars can determine many more details of Mars' past, completing the picture of the planet's geological history.

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  What You Need

  • Aluminum cookie sheet
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Paper cup
  • Popsicle stick
  • Pitcher of water
  • Sand

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Figure 1