Have you ever heard of the Wyoming Study Atlas? Me neither. I stumbled across it while searching for something else. It's used by college professors to put lesson plans together.

According to the website:

The Wyoming Student Atlas is available as a soft cover book, as a digital flipbook, and as a series of science or social studies Web-based interactive story maps which can be used in lesson plans either as self-guided or instructor-guided activities.

The part that I stumbled across compares Wyoming and Mars to find the similarities. You can find the actual study guide at this link.

Wyoming Flag on Mars

Exploring Mars and Wyoming lesson

Compare Mars versus Earth craters
Guess which photos are from Mars and which are from places on Earth that are good testing places for Mars.
Identify features in your town from satellite photos
What natural features or resources do people use for their livelihood?
Identify some important locations in Wyoming from satellite photos
What natural resources are important in Wyoming, and which ones would also be important to Mars?

It is true that there are places on Mars that look just like Wyoming. Or did I mean that the other way around?

So, yeah, people who come to Wyoming often feel as if they have landed on another world. I get that.

If you think about it, colonizing Mars has proved just as difficult as colonizing Wyoming. We have been at this for a long time and we just can't get many people to move here.

Mars, Earth and the Moon.
Tokarsky, ThinkStock Images

When humans do finally colonize Mars it will be much the same as Wyoming: Wind storms, cold nights, nothing grows in the soil, and not much water.

Have you ever stopped to think that both Mars and Wyoming both have a "supervolcano?"  Wyoming has Yellowstone and Mars has Olympus Mons, which is the biggest volcano in the solar system. WEIRD. RIGHT?

The lesson plan/study concludes in this way:

Ask students to “think, pair, share” with a partner: look at this list of layers and come up with some ideas of which of these features might also be important (or not be important) to people traveling to Mars someday.
Possible answers: tourism might be a big money maker on Mars, some people will be willing to pay a lot of money to say they visited another planet.
Coal mining and natural gas drilling will not important on Mars because these are fossil fuels and so far we haven’t discovered fossils on Mars
Other mining (for uranium maybe) might be important minerals needed to make things or to create heat (uranium)
Like Wyoming (dry and cold), Mars will probably not have great population density because it’s so dry and cold


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