12 Jul 2004
(Source: National Air and Space Museum)
Media Only: Peter Golkin 202-633-2374
Frank McNally 703-572-4040
Public information: 202-633-2370
National Air and Space Museum Celebrates Mars Day!
July 16 at National Mall Building and Udvar-Hazy Center
The many wonders of the Red Planet will be explored July 16 when the National Air and Space Museum celebrates Mars Day! with a host of activities at the museum's flagship building on the National Mall in Washington and the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.
The annual Mars Day! festivities give the public a chance to learn the latest about our "next-door neighbor" from the staff of the museum's Education Division, Space History Division and Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS). CEPS scientists were directly involved in the planning of this year's very successful Spirit and Opportunity rover missions.
Mars Day! activities at the Mall building will include close-up views of full-scale rover models; a chance to collect surface samples with a robotic arm; a Red Planet quiz; hands-on study of meteorites; and a look at Mars based on the thinking of the 1890s. Mars Day! at the Mall building is generously supported by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Making its first appearance at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Mars Day! will offer visitors to the museum's companion facility in Virginia the chance to maneuver a rover through a "Mars Yard" terrain; 3-D views of the martian surface; and an artistic setting for children to create their own visions of the planet from their imaginary spacecraft window.
Mars Day! is held annually to mark the July 1976 landing of Viking, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. A test version of the lander is displayed in the Mall building.
The Udvar-Hazy Center, which opened Dec. 15, is located near Washington Dulles International Airport. The National Air and Space Museum building on the Mall is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (Closed Dec. 25.) Admission is free but there is a $12 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Shuttle bus service runs between the facilities with a roundtrip ticket costing $7 (group discounts are available).