Saturday, July 18, 2015

National Air and Space Museum Celebrates “Mars Day!” July 24th

Photo: Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution 

From our friends at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum...

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will present “Mars Day!,” its annual tribute to the “Red Planet” Friday, July 24, from 10 AM until 3 PM at the museum building on the National Mall. Organized by the museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, the event enables visitors to interact with its team of staff scientists and experts from NASA.

“Mars Day!” displays and activities include opportunities for visitors to:

• Listen to Mars Science Laboratory team member, John Grant, discuss Curiosity, the latest rover to operate on Mars.

• Learn about Curiosity’s landing site, Gale Crater, and the rocks and minerals found there with planetary geologist Ross Irwin.

• Hear about the Martian polar regions and how Antarctica can be a laboratory for studying Mars from planetary scientist, Maria Banks.

• Discuss the history of water on Mars with planetary scientist Yo Matsubara.

• Explore NASA’s missions of exploration with Mike Meyer, NASA lead scientist with the Mars Exploration Program.

• See high-resolution views from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

• View the surface of Mars in 3-D with red/blue glasses.

• Participate in a Mars art activity for children and listen to story time.

• Learn how to see beneath the surface of Mars using radar with planetary scientists Bruce Campbell and Jenny Whitten.

• See Marie Curie, the flight spare for the Pathfinder Sojourner rover, and full-scale models of Opportunity and Curiosity and learn about their missions with planetary geologist Ross Irwin.

• Meet Mike Seibert, lead flight director and rover driver for the Opportunity mission.

• Find out about radar mapping of Mars on the European Mars Express mission with planetary scientist Tom Watters.

• Test their skills in a hands-on activity with small robots as they maneuver a rover or collect samples with a robotic arm.

• Test their Mars knowledge with Martian of Ceremonies Brian Healy in the Red Planet Quiz Show.

• Discover Mars exploration in the planetarium presentation, “Exploring Mars: Past, Present, and Future,” with planetary scientist Jim Zimbelman.

For more information and a detailed schedule of activities, visit:

“Mars Day!” is held annually at the museum’s building in Washington to mark the July 1976 landing of Viking 1, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. A test version of Viking 1 is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, DC, is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue, SW. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport. Attendance at both buildings combined exceeded 8 million in 2014, making it the most visited museum in America. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. Both buildings are open from 10 AM until 5:30 PM every day (closed Dec. 25).