Mars Day!

Posted on Wed, July 14, 2010
  • by: Meghan Cassidy

The staff at the National Air and Space Museum are gearing up for the annual Mars Day!, a celebration of the Red Planet. On July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors at the Museum can partake of a variety of educational and family fun activities throughout the galleries.

Jim Zimbleman at Mars Day!

<p class="MsoNormal">Dr. Jim Zimbleman of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies shows a visitor a piece of Mars – a real meteorite that came from Mars! (Credit: Jennifer Griffes)</p>

On Mars Day! visitors can interact one-on-one with Smithsonian and NASA scientists active in Mars research and mission planning, see a real meteorite that came from Mars, learn about Mars missions, explore the Museum's new Mars exhibit with a curator, see amazingly detailed images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, view the surface of Mars in 3-D, learn about the geology of Mars, and more.

Viewing Mars in 3-D

Visitors to Mars Day! 2010 viewed 3-D images of the surface of Mars.

Why is Mars so special that hundreds of scientists study it every day and it gets its very own day at the National Air and Space Museum? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Mars shows evidence that water may have once flowed on its surface, and water is a key ingredient for life.
  • Mars could have or still does support microbial life.
  • Mars has deserts, ice caps, valleys, and volcanoes like those on the Earth and impact craters like those on the Moon
  • Mars is tied to understanding the processes of habitability and global climate change.
Victoria Crater -- Mars

<p class="MsoNormal">Victoria Crater and its dunes on the surface of Mars taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)</p>

Check out the website for a full schedule of Mars Day! events. And don’t forget to turn your eyes to the sky—Mars itself can be seen in the evening western sky. Mars Day! is made possible by the generous support of KRAFT Macaroni and Cheese.

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