Wednesday, 29 May 2013

We Are Aliens and the Mars Curiosity Rover Robot

We just had the chance to see the movie We Are Aliens! so I thought I'd write up a review in case others are wondering whether to go, and also some follow-up information to look at afterwards.

We took our boys aged 6 and nearly 5 to see the movie at a domed planetarium - We Are Aliens! is made to be viewed in this way, it's described as a 360 degree digital experience.

The movie is 30 minutes long and covers the topic of whether there is life on other planets in a way that is suitable for primary school aged children.
The movie is narrated by Rupert Grint (of Harry Potter fame) which works well, the young voice appeals to kids and helps to make the material accessible. The movie is entertaining with engaging alien characters which my kids loved.

It's also packed with information about the conditions needed for life and the most likely places that we might find it. There was enough depth of information to satisfy my older son, but my younger son also managed to get plenty from it.

This is a great video to watch when you get home, it shows time-lapse photography of Curiosity's view of Mars.

We Are Aliens - Teaser v01 - 16x9 from NSC Creative on Vimeo.

What I really liked was that it covers the Curiosity  rover robot which is currently investigating Mars - it landed in August 2012. Curiosity is looking for evidence of past or present microbial life on Mars and We Are Aliens! covers the science of this subject and shows an excellent animation of the Curiosity robot approaching and landing on Mars.

This made the movie very current and gave us a hook to go and find out all about Curiosity and what scientists are learning from it at the moment.

When we got home we watched this cool time-lapse video which gives Curiosity's view of Mars over the last several months.

Curiosity has had some amazing successes since the movie was made including finding new evidence of water - one of the key ingredients scientists believe is necessary for life. 

There's also classroom activities and a set of lesson-starter movie clips that could be used at school or home.

So what did the kids think of We Are Aliens? Well were asked to rate the movie at the end and my older son thought it was Very Good (the top rating) and my younger son thought it was Good, but explained that he enjoyed it but it hurt his neck to look up at the ceiling. He chose a Space Book from the gift shop afterwards for his upcoming birthday, it definitely got him interested in space and he already loves robots. 

Definitely a good way to spend 30 minutes. Especially if you are going to have some follow-on discussion about the topics raised.

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