New “Mars Experience” at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center

Press Release

Friday, October 19, 2018 - 10:00am

Media Inquiries

Alison Mitchell, 202-633-2376, mitchellac@si.edu
Amy Stamm, 202-633-2392, stamma@si.edu

Public Inquiries

202-633-1000

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will debut the “Mars Experience” at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Saturday, Oct. 20, during the annual “Air & Scare” event. Using a traditional school bus outfitted with audio and visual technology, the interactive experience will virtually transport visitors to the Red Planet and give them a chance to see what it might be like to be on Mars. The “Mars Experience” was produced and donated to the museum by Lockheed Martin.

“The first person that will go to Mars is likely in middle school right now,” said Peter Jakab, chief curator at the museum. “We hope this experience helps inspire young people to want to reach new worlds.”

The “Mars Experience” was developed for late-elementary and middle school students and will be integrated into a variety of the programs the museum offers around topics such as living and working in space and exploring Mars. The experience will be available to Udvar-Hazy Center visitors on weekends, free of charge. Future plans include educational outreach to local schools. More information about reserving the experience at a school is available at www.airandspace.si.edu.

“The Mars Experience has already reached over 100,000 students, parents and educators around the country,” said Ann Zulkowsky, director of NASA programs at Lockheed Martin. “This donation will ensure it continues to inspire many more young minds.”

Visitors to “Air & Scare,” Oct. 20 will be the first to take part in the “Mars Experience.” “Air & Scare” is designed with the whole family in mind, and from noon to 5:30 p.m. visitors will enjoy safe, indoor trick-or-treating and spooky activities for all ages at this free event. “Air & Scare” is made possible by Mars Wrigley Confectionery US LLC. For more information and a full list of activities, visit airandspace.si.edu/events/air-scare-11.

The National Air and Space Museum is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport. Regular daily hours for both facilities are from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25).

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  • Students on Mars Experience bus

    Students and chaperones from Virginia's Loch Lomond Elementary School robotics team watch as they seem to travel across the surface of the planet Mars, seated in the Lockheed Martin "Mars Experience" bus. The group of local students were the first to visit the bus at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, October, 19, 2018, following a ceremony in which Lockheed Martin transferred the bus to Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The bus, fitted with high-definition monitors on the windows, provides visitors an opportunity to experience the Martian surface. (National Air and Space Museum photo by Daniel Soñé)

  • Mars Experience bus

    The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum accepted the donation of the Lockheed Martin "Mars Experience" bus in a morning ceremony at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, October, 19, 2018. The bus, fitted with high-definition monitors on the windows, provides visitors an opportunity to experience the Martian surface. (National Air and Space Museum photo by Daniel Soñé)

  • Two students on Mars Experience Bus

    Amos Kear, 9, left, and Nate Wilson, 8, look at the surface of the planet Mars, seated in the Lockheed Martin "Mars Experience" bus. The boys and their classmates from Virginia's Loch Lomond Elementary School robotics team were the first group of local students to visit the bus at the the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., October, 19, 2018, following a ceremony in which Lockheed Martin transferred the bus to Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The bus, fitted with high-definition monitors on the windows, provides visitors an opportunity to experience the Martian surface. (National Air and Space Museum photo by Daniel Soñé)

  • Mars Experience Bus

    Students from the Manassas, Virginia's Loch Lomond Elementary School robotics team were the first ones to board the Lockheed Martin "Mars Experience" bus after a morning ceremony at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., October, 19, 2018.  Lockheed Martin donated the bus, fitted with high-definition monitors on the windows, which provide visitors an opportunity to experience the Martian surface.  (National Air and Space Museum photo by Daniel Soñé)