Destination Mars Overview

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

On July 4, 1997, a spacecraft from Earth unfurled a large parachute and descended through the thin Martian atmosphere. Just above the surface huge airbags inflated to help soften the impact. As it hit the reddish soil, Mars Pathfinder bounced again and again until it finally came to rest. For the first time in a generation, a spacecraft beamed back an image of a never before seen Martian landscape. Thus began the most far-reaching and comprehensive exploration of a planet other than Earth.

The Space Science Institute's Mars Education Program


Over the next decade and beyond, the United States and other nations will undertake the uprecedented exploration of the planet Mars. The excitement generated by these missions creates a tremendous opportunity for educating the public about Mars and Mars' exploration.

The Space Science Institute is taking advantage of this opportunity with the development of the MarsQuest and Destination Mars exhibitions. These exhibitions were funded primarily by NSF and NASA. MarsQuest includes a 5,000 square foot exhibit, a 40 minute plantarium show narrated by Patrick Stewart, and workshops for classroom teachers and museum educators.