Coppell residents come together to survive on Mars

By Daisy Silos | DFW Newsflash | March 2018

The Cozby Library partnered with the Frontiers of Flight Museum to host a Mars Survival event as part of the 8th annual Coppell Reads program on Thursday, March 8.

Each year, a book is chosen for the Coppell Reads program, which is a community reading club. The library hands out around 125 copies of the book on a first come, first served basis, hosts a discussion about the book, and incorporates different programs related to the book throughout the year. This year’s book is the science fiction novel by Andy Weir, The Martian.

“The last two years we had done non-fiction, and we wanted to do something fiction, something different,” librarian Jennifer Franz said. “There’s such a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for kids and teens that it seemed like it would be kind of fun to do something for adults to maybe refresh what they learned in their high school science classes.”

The library has already hosted two events as part of Coppell Reads, which included a craft night and a panel with high school students who build solar cars. The Mars Survival event was the latest event in the program.

The purpose of the Mars Survival event is to form a group to come together to make several important decisions to plan an escape from Earth to Mars.

“The situation is there is a super-volcano at Yellowstone National Park. The super-volcano is expected to explode, but we don’t know when to really expect it,” William Stinnett, educator at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, said. “At this point, NASA begins to set up a crew to send to Mars to prepare for colonization and for the survival of the human race.”

The participants of Mars Survival had to choose between two different types of rockets, who they would pick to be on their crew, what meal plans they were going to have, and even figure out when their launch date would be and where on Mars they would land.

“It is very intense as far as having to come together with people to make these decisions and making sure everyone brings their own mindset to try to figure out the best way to survive,” Stinnett said. “You don’t want people arguing and disagreeing about things, so you have to make sure everyone is in agreement.”

The group had 15 minutes to make all of their decisions. Once those 15 minutes were up, the group was shown different scenarios that occurred during their trip to Mars. Luckily enough, they were able to dodge every situation because of the planning they put into their mission and made it safely to Mars.

“This group did great,” Stinnett said. “They survived the entire scenario, which was pretty amazing, because they were able to dodge tornados and diseases, so it was quite remarkable.”

Coppell resident Bobbie Baumgarten was one of the participants of the Mars Survival event.

“It was a lot of fun,” Baumgarten said. “We really had to think and work together as a team for everything. We passed all the criteria and managed all the situations, and we actually landed on Mars.”

The survivors were all surprised they made it to Mars safely, and as a prize received a NASA sticker to commemorate their successful trip.

The Cozby Library will host two more events as part of Coppell Reads in April that include a movie screening of The Martian and an Astronomy Day, which will include some hands on activities courtesy of the Perot Museum Tech Truck.