I hope I am not the only one to notice the cosmic irony in this. There are several Mars missions converging on the Red planet exactly on Valentine’s Day! Mars was named after the God of War! Somehow planetary missions to the planet Venus converging on this day would have seemed more appropriate!
But, not to worry. Here is an opportunity to take young minds in several directions, all instigated by Current Events unfolding in our Solar System. First there are the usual astronomic, scientific tropes. Then we could consider the import of a number of previously non-space oriented nations now obviously deep into space flight. What does this future hold for mankind here on earth?
However, I should note that the first thing the first image made me think of was the now-dated, but seemingly still relevant movie “ET”. Your young students may not have seen and hence not remember that movie. But think of the raw emotional impact of “ET, phone home”!
Now mankind is placing its own “ET” Perseverance on the far-away and utterly lonely planet of Mars. Mankind’s ET is constantly “phoning” home. But earth is 300 million miles away. And Perseverance does not have any friends there to help it. What will dispel its isolation and blunt the loneliness? Will mankind ever be able retrieve its mechanical explorer from its lonely outpost in the Solar System?
What I am suggesting is that young students could anthropomorphize those Martian exiles and build a story around them. They can draw their emotions into their art and weave it into the fabric of their stories. They can try and visualized the desolation of the Red Planet and try and imagine the cold harshness of that rocky environment.
Perhaps Perseverance will stumble across unknown creatures. Perhaps Perseverance will find previously unknown underground passages with evidence of a hidden civilization. The name is Perseverance. Perhaps….
You take it from here. I know you can!