Imagine Mars through Native Eyes

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes

Imagine Mars teacher and student with globe
Imagine Mars through Native Eyes brought a professional development program for afterschool and museum educators to Native communities. (Courtesy JPL)

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes built upon the national Imagine Mars program. Imagine Mars is a national science and arts education initiative in which students design and share a futuristic Mars community for 100 people. Students explore their home community and decide what cultural, scientific, and artistic elements are important to a community’s success. They discover the extreme Martian environment and imagine what life might be like on the Red Planet. Finally, they create a project that artistically reflects their knowledge of Mars, understanding of community, and hopes for the future.

These projects have varied from performances, to murals, to classroom literacy projects, to developing a 3-D model of their envisioned community. Students share their finished project by posting it in the online gallery.

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes researched traditional Indigenous knowledge of Mars, built content and trainings for after-school programs run in selected Native schools and communities, and provided a live stream broadcast into selected Native schools and communities at the time of the MAVEN launch and Mars Orbit Insertion in 2013 and 2014, respectively. 

The Indigenous Education Institute (IEI) led this effort in partnership with the Multiverse at the Space Sciences Lab, University of California, Berkeley. Native communities involved in Imagine Mars through Native Eyes included the STAR school near Leupp, AZ, a Navajo bi-lingual school, and a Native Hawaiian school and `Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii.