Solar System Exploration at 50

December 1, 2012 | 10:00am - 3:00pm
Museum in Washington, DC

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first successful planetary mission by learning about the planets in our solar system. Talk to planetary scientists, help build a Mars station, and enjoy many more hands-on activities. Are you still angry that Pluto isn’t a planet? Find out why it lost its status, and then vote on whether it should still be a planet or not.

Hands-on Activities

South Lobby (Gallery 108)
Imagine what life would be like on Mars and help build a Mars Station.
Recycled materials activity

West End (Gallery 104)
The Planet Playground
Learn about the planets through a variety of activities.

Design an Extremophile
Find out how living beings adapt to extreme environments and design your own creature.

Looking at Earth (Gallery 110)
Drive a mini-robot on "Mars."

Apollo to the Moon (Gallery 210)
Make a Solar System bracelet.


Space Race (Gallery 114)
The Washington Metro Area LEGO Users Group (WAMALUG) presents their vision of planetary exploration in LEGO.

Milestones of Flight (Gallery 100)
Learn about planetary exploration from the people who are doing it!

  • Orlando Figueroa, the "Mars Czar"
  • Pablo de Leon, Working on space suits for Mars
  • Julie Edmonds, the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

Apollo to the Moon (Gallery 210)
See and hear about lunar samples.

Scheduled events

Exploring the Planets (Gallery 207)
Story time: Dogs in Space by Nancy Coffelt
           10:00 AM and 1:30 PM
           Docent Tour times TBD

Outside on the southeast patio behind McDonald's
Public Observatory 12 noon-3 PM (Weather permitting)


This Family Day is brought to you in collaboration with NASA and the Smithsonian Latino Center.