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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Life on Mars and a Look at Bethany Ehlmann

Disclosure: Penguin Random House Books gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Can you believe it is already March 1st? Time is flying!! Today starts Women's History Month. Having been the only female in classes I always try to focus on some strong women for Hazel to learn more about. Today's picture book is the perfect time to look at Dr. Bethany Ehlmann. More about her later. Let's start with this cute picture book. It is Life on Mars by Jon Agee. It was released yesterday!

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/539679/life-on-mars-by-jon-agee/#

 In this sweet story a young astronaut is determined to prove there is life on Mars. He sets off in a rocket with a package of cupcakes to offer whoever lives there. He searches Mars for any life, but somehow seems to miss the creature following him. He does manage to find a flower growing and picks it to bring back as proof of life on Mars. However he has quite the surprise when he opens his box of cupcakes on the trip home and finds only crumbs. 

The words and illustrations of this book are rather simple, but is an adorable story. We really enjoyed it. Hazel is a bit old for the book, but she thought it was cute. I will say that we were not sure if the astronaut was a boy or a girl. This lead me to think about what women have worked on the various on the exploration of Mars. We also read this book right after our exploration of the women in Hidden Figures.  I went to NASA and looked for someone and discovered Bethany Ehlmann.
Bethany Ehlmann Source
 Bethany Ehlmann is a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, an assistant professor at Caltech and a participating scientist on the NASA Mars Rover Curiosity mission. The participating scientists direct the Mars Rover Curiosity and analyze the Martian rocks and minerals to look for clues of the history of Mars. 

PIA18390-MarsCuriosityRover-SelfPortraitAtWindjana-20140512
Curiosity Self Portrait By NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The mission of Curiosity is to see if Mars ever supported microbial life. Ehlmann is quoted by National Geographic saying, “Studying the first billion years of Mars’s history helps answer questions about how Earth evolved to sustain and maintain environments good for life.” She explains that the rocks of earth do not date back as long as the rocks on Mars. Studying the rocks on Mars allows the scientists to see the early history of our solar system.

Curiosity Mars Rover Finds Mineral Match
Drilling on Mars By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Bethany Ehlmann has degrees in geological science, geography, environmental change and management and Earth and planetary science. She has won several awards and has been published many times. She is just one of the female scientists involved in this exploration of Mars. Other women to check out are Colette Lohr, Darby Dyar, and Pamela Conrad. Be sure to check them out as well. These women are role models for our young women and girls. To me these are some of the most important things to teach our children. I hope you will check out this fun book and learn more about the Curiosity exploration and the discoveries the scientists are making. I know we enjoyed the book and learning about these amazing scientists as well.

Sources: I Am Bethany Ehlmann, National Geographic, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, Curiosity Rover Mission

Pia18608-Curiosity Mars Rover's Approach to 'Pahrump Hills'
Approaching "Pharump Hills" By NASA (http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/pia18608/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons