Mars Rover Landing Anniversary Party!

Saturday, February 19, 2022 • 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 20, 2022 • 11:00 a.m.–Noon Daytime Members + Donors Only
Noon–4:00 p.m. Open to the Public

Not a member yet? Join us and get free admission all year long!

Note: Free for members and donors—only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of NASA's Perseverance rover landing on Mars! Since landing on February 18, 2021, Perseverance has been hunting for signs of ancient microbial life in order to collect and store samples of Martian rock and sediment to be retrieved by planned future missions for closer study on Earth. 

At this weekend festival you can experience a full-scale, lifelike model of Perseverance and hear directly from Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers about the rover, what it's finding, and NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. And, experience youth and artist-made projects and hands-on activities inspired by space exploration!

Selfie image of Perseverance taken by Perseverance! Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech. Learn more.

Take-Home Rovers
With Viv Altmann

11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (last entry at 3:00 p.m.)
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery

Make an Exploratorium Rover! Keep things rolling along with this activity recommended for groups with kids seven and older. Build a simple car outfitted with a rubber band “motor” and wired with tiny lights. Then take it home with you. This drop-in activity takes approximately 45 minutes and has limited capacity. First come, first served; all materials supplied.

Mars Helicopter: Ingenuity
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

Take a look at the model of a new, ingenious Mars explorer. Ingenuity is a small, autonomous aircraft that hitched a ride to Mars attached to the belly of Perseverance. Its first flight on April 19, 2021, was a major milestone: the aircraft climbed to about 3 meters (10 feet) above ground, briefly hovered in the air, completed a turn, and landed. It was the first powered, controlled flight in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere and the first on another planet! Ingenuity has performed additional flights, going incrementally longer distances and reaching higher altitudes. What’s learned from these test flights will inform future research and innovation on how rovers and aerial explorers can work together.

Space Cinema
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Microcinema

Settle in to reflect on the beauty of space—both true and imagined. This collection of short films pulls from artist-made stories of the worlds beyond Earth; documentaries; archival musings; and short, sometimes sci-fi animations. Also featured are films that look toward the most awe-inspiring of Earth-bound landscapes, with mystical terrains that make them seem beyond this world.

Roving with Perseverance
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

Take a deep dive into Perseverance’s fantastic journey with these highlights from the many animations, photographs, movies, and documentation that offer insight into Persy’s journey so far. From construction and pre-launch, through the images being sent back from Mars on a regular basis, this multi-screen viewing space takes you through Persy’s life on Mars. An evocative soundscape by Wayne Grim and an immersive video experience by Rick Danielson set the mood.

Mars Mission Q&A
With Members of NASA’s Mars Mission Team

11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

While Ingenuity is the name of a different space explorer, NASA’s Perseverance rover is certainly an ingenious technological and scientific achievement. Outfitted with seven instruments, over twenty cameras, and two microphones, Persy builds on the work of previous Mars missions with the goal of offering new insights into the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars missions are developed and overseen by an expansive team of scientists, engineers, technicians, and researchers. Join members of the team to learn more about the 2020 mission, Perseverance, and the extensive innovation and iterations the team went through to get the rover’s launch ready. 

Tinkering School Mars Mission Q&A
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

Tinkering School (TS) is a San Francisco–based educational program dedicated to youth-centered making and tinkering. TS created Tinkering School Mars Mission as an Earth-bound program that maintains the accuracy and challenges of real Mars rover operations. Inspired by (but not associated with) NASA’s Mars missions, the TS team, composed of young people ages 14–20, collaborated to build an educational hands-on experience operating rovers in a simulated Martian lava tube. Join members of the team to learn more about their mission and prototypes and to test drive their newest generation of rovers.

Rover Roundup
With Members of NASA’s Mars Mission Team

1:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

Since landing inside the 45 kilometer (28 mile wide) Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, Persy has been busy at work observing the Mars environment, capturing images, and collecting samples for future retrieval. As we reach the one-year anniversary of Perseverance’s landing, NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission team members  will give a rover roundup, outlining how Persy has spent its first year on Mars, and the ways it's moving toward key mission objectives, such as developing a better understanding of Mars’ astrobiology, which includes seeking signs of ancient microbial life.

Mars Explorers: Human Edition
With Emily Cardarelli, Sunanda Sharma, Sawyer Brooks, and hosted by Sylvia Hoyt

2:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

The success of NASA’s Mars Mission is dependent on a huge team of scientists, engineers, creators, and researchers. Each member's unique role is essential to the success of the mission, including gathering meaningful new data and information about the Mars environment. Join members of the team to dive into exactly what they do. Learn about what drew them to become part of the team and how their unique backgrounds led them to their out-of-this-world careers. 

Earthbound Exploration: Tinkering School Mars Mission
With the Tinkering School Mars Mission Team

3:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

As COVID-19 forced remote learning, Tinkering School (TS), a San Francisco–based educational program dedicated to youth-centered making and tinkering, wondered how they could adapt their tactile learning approach to a virtual environment. The solution? The TS Mars Mission. Led by a team of young people, ages 14–20, the mission maintains the accuracy and challenges of real Mars rover operations and represents a pioneering effort in defining a new, collaborative distance-learning experience. Join team members who will discuss how they developed early prototypes and continue to reiterate designs, the process of building a Mars lava tube model, and the role narrative storytelling plays in their mission. Along the way, gain insights into their approach to learning—which centers the autonomy and empowerment of youth—and get inspired by the familiar tools and materials that they have repurposed to their outer limits.