Mission to Mars: Robotics in Space
- Grades 5-6
- Computer Science and Technology
Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity—robots sent by NASA to explore Mars—each outlasted their missions but were ultimately bested by the planet’s harsh conditions. Sojourner lost its base station, Spirit became stuck in its soil, and Opportunity fell prey to a dust storm. With Curiosity still sending selfies from Mars—and Perseverance which landed there in 2021—human space knowledge is benefiting immensely from the scientific work of robots.
But how does one design a robot to survive the red planet and gather helpful information? Focus on answering this very question as you explore programming concepts such as the use of conditionals, variables, functional decomposition, abstraction, and flow control. Applying this knowledge, construct and program a robot to complete Mars-specific challenges like autonomous maneuvering for retrieving objects, thereby gaining firsthand insight into robotics in space.
Fall and Spring Time Commitment: 4-5 hours per week (1-hour of class time, 3-4 hours of independent work).
Summer Time Commitment: 12-15 hours per week (3-hours of class time, 9-12 hours of independent work).
Register for an Online course by selecting an open class below. If no open classes are listed, then course enrollment is currently closed. Fill out this form if you wish to be notified when the next class is available. Note: You will need to have an active CTY Account to complete registration through MyCTY.
Testing and Prerequisites
|Required Level||CTY-Level||Not required|
Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.Sign up for Testing Learn More
Cost and Financial Aid
- Nonrefundable Application Fee - $15 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
- Nonrefundable International Fee - $20 (outside US only)
We have concluded our financial aid application review process for Academic Year 2023-2024 Online Programs (Courses with start dates July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024). Our application for Academic Year 2024-2025 Online Programs is expected to open in January. We encourage those who may need assistance in the future to apply for aid as early as possible.
Please acquire all course materials by the course start date, unless noted as perishable. Items marked as “perishable” should not be acquired until the student needs them in the course. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact [email protected].
LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Set (Please note: the cost of this kit is approximately $400 USD)
This course requires a computer with high-speed Internet access and an up-to-date web browser such as Chrome or Firefox. You must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.
This course uses a virtual classroom for instructor-student communication. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client, and on tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Recorded meetings can only be viewed on a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both free to download.
About Computer Science and Technology at CTY
Are you a student in elementary through high school who dreams of being a coder? Do you want to develop critical thinking and learn creative problem solving? And do you want to do it all on your own time and at your own speed? Our fun and lively online Computer Science and Technology courses range from Scratch programming for young scholars to advanced Java concepts and AP Computer Science. Gear up for learning real-world computer languages and practicing new programming skills in an array of projects including animation, game design, web design, and more.
In the newly revised Introduction to Java course, you'll develop introductory Java programs to provide technology solutions for an imaginary new company of your choosing. Think of an idea for a business, hobby, or interest you have. The programs you write in this course will support your imaginary business, and maybe someday you'll use them to start your own company!
Get started with Computer Science and Engineering
In the updated Introduction to Computer Science and Engineering course, you’ll get to use your scientific and creative abilities to design and build lots of cool projects. You'll learn how to use a MaKey MaKey board and Scratch programming to invent games and solve problems. Get ready to take a hands-on approach in this fun course!