The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will host programming and offer a variety of resources and expertise to coincide with the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars, Thursday, Feb. 18. The museum’s scientists are involved in a number of Mars research missions with NASA and will share their insights on this current endeavor. A variety of programming will be available for all ages beginning Thursday, Feb. 4, and special Perseverance-themed merchandise will go on sale for a limited time starting Thursday, Feb. 11. To access all of the museum’s Perseverance resources, visit airandspace.si.edu/perseverance.
Perseverance Program Schedule
“STEM in 30” Episode Perseverance: What It Takes to Explore the Red Planet—Feb. 4
This episode for middle school students will explain the next steps in exploring Mars with the landing of Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter.
“Flights of Fancy Storytime”—Feb. 9
Museum educators will hold a virtual storytime with “Mo the Mars Man,” an original story by museum educator Ann Caspari and illustrations by museum educator Diane Kidd. After the storytime, educators will lead an activity to make a mini sandbox and oobleck—a substance made of cornstarch and water—for sensory play.
Air and Space Live Chat with experts—Feb. 11
Museum experts will answer questions about exploring the Red Planet, with special guest Abigail Harrison, also known as “Astronaut Abby,” a STEM advocate and founder of “The Mars Generation.” The live chat will take place at 1 p.m. ET and can be watched on Facebook or on the museum website.
Air and Space Pre-Landing Live Chat—Feb. 18
Museum scientists John Grant and Mariah Baker will join Air and Space educators for a live chat 1–2:10 p.m. ET airing on NASA TV and the museum’s Facebook page and website. Each of the scientists from the museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies will answer questions from viewers before the scheduled landing.
Soar Together at Air and Space—Feb. 12–13
This family day will explore the universe through programs and activities that highlight the latest exploration of Mars and contemplate other worlds. The activities will help learners understand what is needed to live on an inhospitable planet and ask them to consider what type of world they want to live in through discussion and dance.
The Smithsonian Channel will air Making Tracks on Mars Feb. 14 at 10 p.m. ET. This new documentary will trace the history of Martian rovers and explores the design and drama of the new rover’s launch and landing. It will also follow Smithsonian scientists into the field to reveal how Mars is both familiar and alien.
Drawing on the resources and research behind the documentary, the app “Mission to Mars AR” will allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to participate in the mission through innovative augmented reality experiences grounded in the real equipment and events. Exploiting the latest technologies, the app will let viewers launch an Atlas V 541 rocket, interact with and drive “Percy” and its rover predecessors, fly the helicopter and step through a portal onto the planet to explore the present and future of Mars exploration. It will be available in app stores starting Feb. 15.
The National Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian Enterprises will launch a limited-time online store featuring merchandise celebrating the landing of Mars Rover Perseverance and previous exploration of the Red Planet. The store will be accessible Feb. 11 to Feb. 21 on the museum’s website and will feature shirts, mugs, stickers, blankets and more.
The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities, along with all Smithsonian museums, are temporarily closed as a public health precaution.