Learning to survive on Mars

HOWLAND — With the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library’s summer reading program focusing on outer space, children learned what they would need to survive on Mars, including that astronauts have their urine purified for drinking water.

Ellen Engle, museum outreach educator for the Armstrong Museum, spoke at the Howland Library Branch as part of the “A Universe of Stories” program.

More than 20 children attended the event during which Engle asked children to write down three things they would take with them to survive on Mars.

While children came up with food and a spacesuit, Engle said NASA said there are four things that are needed.

“We are not meant to live on Mars. Water, oxygen, food and communication are what you need. There is no oxygen in space. We may one day find another planet that has oxygen,” she said.

Engle said people can’t live many days without water.

She said while water is too heavy to take into space, purification systems are installed to cleanse urine.

Without gravity, astronauts have to use seat belts when using the restroom in a spaceship, she said.

“When you are an astronaut, you really need to take care of yourself,” Engle said, noting astronauts have to exercise for five hours per day and drink water, and eat food that is dehydrated to last longer.

Astronauts also must stay in contact with NASA in case there is an emergency or if NASA needs to tell them what to do, she said.

Andrew Krarup, 10, and his brother, Sean Krarup, 6, said they liked looking at different colors of water Engle made to show how water can be purified and why it is important to drink.

“Getting to see how a filter works is fun,” Andrew said.

The children also worked in groups of three or four to assemble devices they would need to survive on Mars and created various contraptions using empty water bottles, plastic bowls and pans.