Press Release

Public Invited to Celebrate NASA Mars Launch at VA. Air & Space Ctr.

By SpaceRef Editor
November 22, 2011
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Public Invited to Celebrate NASA Mars Launch at VA. Air & Space Ctr.

NASA Langley Research Center’s official visitors center is offering an out- of-this-world alternative to shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) in downtown Hampton will celebrate the scheduled launch of Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and its Curiosity rover with a special Mars Family Day, November 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors, including a number of NASA Langley employees, will be able to view the MSL lift-off, enjoy hands-on activities and participate in a live question and answer session with Mars experts at the Kennedy Space Center

Who: Open to the public

What: Mars Family Day – celebrating the launch of Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and its Curiosity rover.

When: Saturday, November 26, 2011- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Virginia Air & Space Center, 600 Settlers Landing Road, downtown Hampton

How: Launch viewing and Mars Family Day activities are included in regular exhibit admission. Members always receive free admission.

More than 100 researchers and technicians at NASA Langley have worked on the MSL mission. Mars Family Day participants will be able to: learn more about MSL and Langley’s role in it; create an “egg” Mars lander; go on a MarsQuest scavenger hunt to win the chance for a free VASC Summer Science Camp; test their Martian skills with rover races; become an engineer for the day to help work on the challenges of landing on the Red Planet; see how much they weigh on Mars and other planets; and see a Mars meteorite and Viking lander, Viking orbiter and Mars rover models.

During the day, Air & Space Center visitors will also be able to participate in a free live, interactive video broadcast about the MSL launch from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. NASA is partnering with the National Institute of Aerospace, also in Hampton; the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS); and VASC to host livestream web coverage.

The public is invited to view and participate in the live webcasts online at:

Dr. Steve Lee, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s curator of planetary science, will host the live broadcasts from the KSC Visitor Complex, interviewing a variety of scientists, engineers, educators, and NASA officials who will answer questions from visitors at DMNS and VASC as well as from a live audience and Internet participants. Members of NASA’s Museum Alliance (several hundred museums, science centers, and planetariums across the country) will also take part in the event. Scheduled times for the free online broadcast are Wednesday, Nov. 23 from 1 – 5 p.m. (EST); Friday, Nov. 25 from 1 – 5 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 26 from 8:30 a.m. to launch and again from 1 – 5 p.m. Friday’s launch will mark the start of Mars Science Laboratory’s eight-month journey to Mars. Curiosity, which is about the size of a small car, is NASA’s most advanced mobile robotic laboratory. It has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars had environments favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.

To learn more about the Mars Science Laboratory mission, visit the mission home page at:

For more information about NASA’s Langley Research Center, please go to:

To learn more about NASA Langley’s official visitors center, the Virginia Air & Space Center, please go to:

SpaceRef staff editor.