Countdown to Mars

A rover is deposited on Mars.

Was there ever life on Mars … and could there be again? Join us in celebrating collaboration and innovation in space exploration as we count down to the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on the Red Planet.

Learn about rovers, rocketry and robotics through a series of exciting activities, events and experiments. Build your own rover, ask a NASA Planetary Scientist your most pressing Mars questions, study the math behind a mission to Mars—and much more!

Following the rover’s landing on February 18, take a tour of the winter sky during a special Virtual Star Party for a chance to see not only the Red Planet, but also the Moon, constellations and other fantastic deep-space phenomena. Begin your mission in three, two, one ...

A small vehicle made of cardboard and household objects.
Make a Cardboard Mars Rover

Learn about the forces of potential energy, kinetic energy and friction when you create your own rover from simple materials and test its ability to move over different terrains. Plus, discover the challenges awaiting NASA’s Perseverance rover on the rough, windy surface of Mars.

Make a Cardboard Mars Rover
A rocket launching into space.
Build a Bottle Rocket

Set up your launch pad, build your bottle rocket and prepare for an impressive display of Newton’s three laws of motion. Create an equal and opposite reaction to remember with this explosive experiment!

Build a Bottle Rocket
A man holds up a small, plastic parachute.
Design a Parachute

A safe landing on Mars depends on a powerful parachute. Think like a NASA engineer as you design and test your own mini parachutes while learning about the forces of gravity and drag. Happy landings!

Design a Parachute
A close up of fingers, wool and thumbtacks.
Calculate Launch Windows

Uncover the calculations behind timing a trip to Mars as you plot out the orbits of Earth and Mars around our Sun, dive deep into the Hohmann transfer orbit and learn the importance of timing for space travel.

Calculate Launch Windows
A child smiles while wearing a headband with the word Mars on it.
Cranium Qs: Space Edition

Brush up on your space vocabulary during your next family game night. Take a card—no peeking!—and ask “yes” or “no” questions until you guess what the card says. Communication is key to this game!

Cranium Qs: Space Edition
A child uses their phone outdoors while an image of a phone superimposed on top shows the AR experience.
Try the YumeGO App

With this new augmented reality app, explore SpaceX’s Raptor engine, dock cargo with the Canadarm2 or pilot the Perseverance rover—no spacesuit required. Download the YumeGO App for free today; available for iOS and Android.

Try the YumeGO App
NASA's perseverance rover.
For Teachers: Space Lander

Using an assortment of loose parts, students will design and build a device that can absorb shock and land safely on a planetary surface.

Lesson Plan + Instructions

Videos

Make a Cardboard Mars Rover

Build a Bottle Rocket

All About Mars

Virtual Star Party