Press Release

Mars Rocks ‘Land’ in Eight U.S. Cities Beginning Thursday, July 26

By SpaceRef Editor
July 27, 2012
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Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando first to be selected as ‘Mars Cities’ in ‘Get Curious’ campaign

Explore Mars, a nonprofit organization promoting innovation and education related to Mars exploration, has selected Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boston, Detroit, Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Indianapolis and Orlando as the country’s first ‘Mars Cities’ ahead of the Aug. 5 landing of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover ‘Curiosity.’ During the weeks of July 26 to Aug. 9, these cities will each host a synthetic red boulder manufactured to resemble a Mars rock. The boulders, whose ‘landing’ in the eight pilot cities was made possible in part by space launch services provider United Launch Alliance, will all be inscribed with ‘’ and bear a QR code plaque directing curious passersby to the campaign Web site.

“We are excited that Columbus was designated a ‘Mars City’ and that COSI can be a part of the ‘Get Curious’ campaign,” said Joshua Sarver, Senior Director of Experience Design and Production at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). “We continually think of ways to captivate our visitors at COSI, and we think the Mars rock in front of the center will attract a lot of attention and pique interest. We are pleased to be able to show our support for the ‘Curiosity’ rover landing and continue to help raise awareness for scientific discovery and space exploration.”

The city designation is part of the new ‘Get Curious’ campaign for public awareness and education in support of the landing scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 5 (10:31 PDT/11:31 MDT/12:31 CDT/1:31 EDT). ‘Curiosity’ is designed to explore and analyze Martian terrain for at least 23 months. Explore Mars and ULA invite citizens to post pictures of themselves with the Mars rocks to the Explore Mars Facebook page and on Twitter using the hash tag #MarsCities.

“We at Explore Mars look forward to celebrating the Curiosity landing with not only the space community, but also the general public,” said Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars. “This mission will give us insights into whether Mars has, or ever had conditions, favorable to microbial life as well as the possibilities of future human exploration on Mars. We hope this and other space exploration initiatives will inspire Americans of all ages to reach further and dream bigger.”

Landing spots for the simulated Mars boulders are as follows:

Atlanta – Georgia Institute of Technology, Tech Walkway
Austin – City Hall, Plaza
Boston – Museum of Science
Detroit – Riverfront, Rivard Plaza
Columbus – COSI
Houston – Hermann Square
Indianapolis – City-County Building
Orlando – City Hall, Plaza

This campaign is also supported by Aerojet, and we have partnered with non-profits such as National Geographic, the National Institute of Aerospace, Yuri’s Night and the National Space Society.

For more information about Mars Cities, the ‘Get Curious’ campaign or Explore Mars, visit

About Explore Mars

Explore Mars is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula. You can contact us using our website or at the email address Follow Explore Mars on Twitter at and Facebook at

About United Launch Alliance

Formed in December 2006, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company. ULA brings together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta – to provide reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the U.S. government. U.S. government launch customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other organizations.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at and

Phillips & Company
Stephen Rodriguez, 512-296-7225

SpaceRef staff editor.