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Topical Tuesdays: Simulating Life on Mars - Key Stage 2 News Story and Reading and Writing Activity Sheet from The Week Junior

image of Topical Tuesdays: Simulating Life on Mars - Key Stage 2 News Story and Reading and Writing Activity Sheet from The Week Junior
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Imagine spending a year living inside a giant box designed to copy conditions on the planet Mars. You’d have a limited food supply, lots of work to do and not much contact with the outside world.

That is what four volunteers will be doing starting in June 2023, in an experiment called the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA). Organised by US space agency NASA, CHAPEA aims to give volunteers an experience of living on Mars that is as realistic as possible.

This resources pack includes an article from The Week Junior magazine, along with a sheet of activities designed to get children thinking, talking and writing about what the story means to them.


Preparing people for living on Mars seems very exciting but what’s the point? Isn’t it strange to take a nine-month journey to a planet which is not suitable for human life?

Shouldn’t we be spending that time and effort on looking after our own planet? Or is it important to keep expanding our understanding of our solar system?

Haven’t humans always felt the urge to explore? Wouldn’t it be useful if we found resources that we could use back here on Earth? What do you think?

Writing skills

Write a dialogue between two Martians watching a spacecraft full of humans arrive on their planet. How would they feel about it? You can be as serious or humorous as you like but write it using the conventions of a playscript.


Imagine you are one of the crewmembers on an expedition to Mars. Write a letter or postcard to a friend or relative saying how you’re finding living in a giant box with a handful of other people 300,000,000 miles from home.


Write a fact file about Mars. Research between five and ten interesting details about the planet, giving a sentence or two about each one.

Find the entire series of Topical Tuesday resources to download in our Topical Tuesdays collection.

What is the Week Junior?

The Week Junior magazine looks at current affairs and helps children make sense of the world, provides context and clarity to complex issues, improves general knowledge and encourages discussion and debate.

To find out more about The Week Junior and to download its free resources, please go to The Week Junior website.

  • News story
  • Activities sheet
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