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It’s the Summer of Mars at
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Appears at Official Kickoff Events,
Mars Rover Concept Vehicle to be on Display at visitor complex
and Tour Select East Coast Cities in July, August
A Summer of Mars highlight is the addition of a Mars rover concept vehicle to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The 6,000-pound, 11-foot tall rover will be on display at the visitor complex through the end of June, at which point it will begin a tour of select cities along the East Coast from mid-July through August. The rover, which is currently scheduled to make stops in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City and Jersey City, was commissioned as a traveling exhibit to inspire the public about space exploration and interplanetary travel. A schedule of dates and events can be found here.
Built by Cape Canaveral-based Parker Brothers Concepts, with input from NASA-engineer science and specifications, the Mars rover seats four passengers and was built to handle the climate, conditions and environment on the Red Planet as they are currently understood. It is a dual-purpose vehicle that can be used as either a small scout vehicle or a full research laboratory and features carbon fiber accents, solar panels and 50-inch wheels that are specifically designed to let the fine sands of Mars slip through. It is powered by a 700-volt battery and can reach speeds of up to 70 mph, although it is meant to travel over dunes, rocks, craters and hills at 10-15 mph. The Mars rover was created to be as realistic as possible for educational purposes, but won’t be making the trip to Mars.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is hoping to reach a new level of engagement with guests by bringing the future of space exploration to life with the Mars rover concept vehicle. Visitors will be able to see the vehicle, learn about the materials used to build it, and the custom features employed to accommodate the terrain, and more, providing a greater context for the Journey to Mars.
The focus on Mars as the next space destination is incorporated as a theme throughout Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Activities with a Mars focus include the Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted live theater and interactive experience; the Journey to Space 3D film in the IMAX® Theater; a special edition of Science on a Sphere|–|Red and Blue – about the Red Planet, a custom 3D Eyes on the Red Planet presentation highlighting the last two decades of our robotic exploration on Mars; and Cosmic Quest, an interactive game that includes missions to Mars like building a Mars habitat.
The culmination of the Summer of Mars campaign will be the opening of the new Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) center. Scheduled to open in fall 2017, it will offer an experience unlike anywhere else, and, along with the companion program Mars Base 1, will bring guests as close to training, living and working on the Red Planet as possible without leaving Earth. In the ATX center, groups and individuals will experience training like a real astronaut using virtual reality and simulators. Training activities include landing on Mars, walking on its surface, driving on the rough terrain and experiencing microgravity. Or they can spend the day working on Mars as a rookie astronaut on Mars Base 1. Guests will be transported to the Red Planet, dock with Mars Base 1 and work in the Plant Lab, operate robotics and solve engineering challenges – just like the astronauts who will one day travel to Mars. Technology such as floor-to-ceiling 4K screens will create a realistic experience and participants will feel as though they’re actually being transported to Mars. Each guest will receive a summary of activities including STEM subjects utilized and suggested future careers related to the day’s accomplishments.
For more information, visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex