Copyright © 2004 by John M. Heasley. Published by The Mars Society with permission
EDUCATING GENERATION MARS FOR THE VOYAGE AHEAD
John M. Heasley
Richland Center High School
23200 Hornet High Road
Richland Center, WI 53581
Mars has long attracted our gaze and our imagination. This fascination has been well documented, but there are a few stories that stand out for me. I read of Robert Goddard, climbing a cherry tree as teenager in Massachusetts in the 1890s and imagining a voyage to Mars. He learned to keep this dream to himself, but he did go on to pioneer the use of liquid-fueled rockets. In his audio reading of The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury recounts how he stretched out his arms in 1930s Illinois and tried to will himself to Mars. In Cosmos, Carl Sagan tells how he attempted to repeat this experiment in 1940s New York. I found myself wondering if the young people in school today still have Martian dreams.
In the closing minutes of class one day last February, I read to them a passage from Michael BensonŐs Beyond about the images sent back by our interplanetary probes.