Replica Mars rock dedicated to Austin boy scouts

Frank Fickett Boy Scouts Center receives rock and plack from Explore Mars president, Artemis Westenberg


Posted on January 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 21 at 7:23 AM

AUSTIN — A rock resembling something found on the Red Planet is on display at the Frank Fickett Scouting Training and Service Center in Austin.

The center dedicated the 1,000 pound rock to Austin boy scouts Sunday afternoon. The rock resembles one collected during Curiosity Rover’s mission on Mars. It arrived in Austin last Summer and spent months in front of Austin City Hall.  It is one of eight similar rocks displayed nationwide. Space exploration experts hope the display will encourage young minds.

“We used those to place them to various cities, out there in the middle of the street, in the center of town, where people will go ‘What’s this?'” explained Artemis Westenberg, President of Explore Mars, Inc.

The words “Get Curious” are posted on the backside of the rock. On the front there is a cell phone q-code that viewers can scan. The code connects viewers to the “Get Curious” website.

“We will tell all little details about the mission, about the technology, about what we want to do, about former missions,” said Westenberg.

The website focuses on a project known as STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

“We believe that it is a way to tell kids that Math does matter in your life. It’s not something to bore you out of your mind in school,” said Westenberg, “It can help you figure out the Universe…that’s why (the rock) is here. We hope that kids see it and get curious, literally about the rock.”

The center is now the permanent home for the Mars replica rock.

The above article appeared in the  KVUE news on January 20, 2013

inflatable planetarium at Frank Fickett Boy Scouts Center

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Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula.

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