Curiosity Self Portrait

Mars Day

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.

Mars Day! 2016 was held on Friday, July 29. Here are some of the activities from our event. Visit us again for updates about our 2017 Mars Day!

2016 Schedule:

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.