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Mission to M.A.R.S.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Summary:

Jonathan Deitchman's Eagle Scout Project is titled Mission to M.A.R.S. which cleverly stands for Modeling an Astronomical Rover Simulation. The project consisted of constructing and crafting a realistic landscape of Mars with a rover to traverse upon, so that children and adults can learn about the wonders of planet Mars.

 

Mixing of CelluClay Papier Mache for the first time.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Making of the mountain with the first layer of CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Covering the mountain with an additional layer of CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Continuing work on the first layer of the mountain with CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Continuing work on the first layer of CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

My Dad putting down some CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

The completed work on the first day of the CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

My Mom and I mixing CelluClay on Day 2.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Working on the sand dunes with CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Working on the dust devil depression with CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

Completed landscape layer of CelluClay.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

The planet's surface design has five main elements: 1) the crater, 2) the dust devil depression, 3) the mountain, 4) the plateau and 5) the sand dunes. Two of the walls are plywood with a vinyl background and the other two walls are made from sheets of clear plexiglass, wood trim and a stand for the tablet that is used to control the rover. 

 

Final Display with Rover: The final display with the rover.

Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

 

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Mission to M.A.R.S. Eagle Scout Project by Jonathan Deitchman

The display also has a poster thanking everyone who helped with this project through donations and support.

 

Creating It

The idea of this project was very easy to come up with after a meeting with the Director of the Science Discovery Center (SDC), during which we discussed the various displays that he would like to incorporate into the Center. My favorite idea was building an exhibit about Mars, which led to talking about the size, the rover and the landscape. The process continued with multiple discussions, with various experts, regarding the materials that would be needed and how to build the display.  Next was the gathering of materials from multiple sources.  The next step was doing a dry fitting of the project at a different location due to spacing issues, after which everything was disassembled and transported to the SDC.  Then, the building of the display was started with the assistance of a contractor, followed by the building of the landscape, in layers. The first layer was foam board insolation, which helped define the features of the landscape. The second layer was CelluClay, which provided definition and shape to the landscape. The third layer was Kid Krete, a mixture of sand, glue, paint and cornstarch, which gave the landscape its Mars-like appearance. Finally, rocks and sand were added for more detail.

 

How Long

The first day that I met with the Director of the SDC, and developed the idea for the project, was September 20th, 2019.  The proposal for my Eagle Scout Project was approved on February 21st, 2020 - right before COVID hit. During the summer of 2020, the dry fitting was complete, and close to the end of the summer, I was able to begin building the display. Now, it was at that point, that COVID significantly delayed the project, as the SUNY Oneonta Campus shut down, thus preventing further work on the project.  However, after seven months, building was resumed and the landscape was completed. After the landscape was completed, the contractor came in to help finish the build, by adding plexiglass walls, wood trim and a tablet stand. Overall, the project took a total of 21 months to complete!

 

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