<i>Curiosity</i> Self Portrait

Mars Day

Mars Day! 2016 will take place on Friday, July 29 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Admission is free.

Mars Day! is an annual National Air and Space Museum event that celebrates the Red Planet with a variety of educational and fun family activities. Visitors can also talk to scientists active in Mars research and learn about current and future missions.


In Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

  • A Piece of Mars, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
    See a real meteorite that came from Mars, with scientists from the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Gale Crater, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
    Talk to geologist Jon Cawley about the rocks and minerals found at Curiosity’s landing site.
  • Water on Mars, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm 
    Learn about the history of water on Mars with planetary scientist Yo Matsubara.
  • HiRISE, 12:00 to 1:00 pm
    See high resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter with planetary scientist Sharon Wilson Purdy. 
  • Currently Active Mars, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
    See images of recent Martian avalanches, dust devils, sand dunes, and impacts, and learn how the surface of Mars is still changing today, with planetary scientist Maria Banks.
  • Viking,10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 to 3:00 pm
    Talk to Viking team member Jim Zimbelman and planetary geologist Ross Irwin about the Viking mission to Mars which marks its 40th anniversary this month,
  • Mars Science Laboratory, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
    Learn about Curiosity, the latest rover to operate on Mars, with MSL science team member John Grant.
  • NASA Mars Missions, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
    Learn about NASA’s missions of exploration with Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
  • Mars Radar, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm 
    Learn how to see beneath the surface of Mars, with planetary scientists Jenny Whitten, Bruce Campbell, and Gareth Morgan.
  • Robot Explorers, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm 
    Test your skills in this hands-on activity with small robots as you maneuver a robotic rover or collect samples with a robotic arm.

In Exploring the Planets

  • Rover Driver, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
    Meet Mike Seibert, Lead Flight Director and Rover Driver for the Opportunity mission.
  • Mars Rovers, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
    See Marie Curie, the flight spare for the Pathfinder Sojourner rover, and full-scale models of Opportunity and Curiosity, which are currently operating on Mars, and talk to planetary geologist Ross Irwin about their missions.
  • Mars Story Time, 11:00 am
    Join educator Ann Caspari for a reading of Mousetronaut Goes to Mars by Mark Kelly
  • TechQuest, 12:00 to 3:00 pm 
    Enjoy this game where you become a Mars planetary geologist selecting rock samples to return to Earth.

In Space Race

  • Images of Mars in 3-D, 12:00 to 3:00 pm
    View the surface of Mars in 3-D with red/blue glasses.
  • Mars Art!, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
    Participate in an art activity for kids.

In Moving Beyond Earth

  • MARSIS, 11:00 am
    Talk to planetary scientist Tom Watters about radar mapping of Mars on the European Mars Express mission.

In Looking at Earth

  • Red Planet Quiz Show, 1:30 pm 
    Test your Mars knowledge, with Martian of Ceremonies Sam Cartwright. 
  • Regional Planetary Image Facility, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm 
    Learn about the Museum’s Regional Planetary Image Facility, a NASA-funded archive of planetary imagery. 

In the Albert Einstein Planetarium

  • Exploring Mars: Past, Present, and Future, 10:30 am
    Learn about Mars exploration in this planetarium presentation with planetary scientist Jim Zimbelman. 

In the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater

  • Journey to Space 3D
    See an exciting Imax film with thoughts on human exploration of Mars. Ticket prices apply.