To go along with Pacific Science Center’s Facing Mars exhibit and Roving Mars IMAX film, we’ve created a new planetarium show.
Come hear stories about the adventures of NASA’s Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Make your own decisions regarding some of the challenges they’ve faced and learn to find Mars in tonight’s sky. View photos of the Martian surface that are less than a week old, and root for the rovers to keep on roving! Ticket required (FREE tickets for Pacific Science Center members!) 40 minutes – ages 4 and up. Children under 4 are not admitted.
Go to pacificsciencecenter.org  for plenty more information about the exhibit and both shows.
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When is it Showing?
Some further notes on the show:
Since we wanted a show to complement Facing Mars, I tried to write a show that encompassed the experience of the journey to Mars and what you might face while there – just as the exhibit does. Unfortunately, we have not yet sent people to Mars so I decided to focus on the two robots, Spirit and Opportunity, who seem to have captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world. Somehow Spirit and Opportunity (or “Oppy” as we call her) have become beloved pets through whom we can visit a small portion of this alien world.
We were also trying to avoid just another “Red Planet” show, a show listing the most commonly-known facts about Mars: it’s red, it’s got the largest volcano in the solar system, it has the largest valley in the solar system, it has seasonal dust storms, etc. Even if you didn’t already know those facts, you’ll find them in almost any book, TV show, or movie about Mars. We wanted our show to be different.
I also recently attended a storytelling workshop with Jay O’Callahan , who wrote the incredibly moving story of NASA’s first 50 years, “Forged in the Stars ”. Good storytelling transports us into the story, and Jay is a master at that. I was inspired by the workshop to begin writing “fact-tales” as my co-worker Michael Bowers calls them; thus “Martian Adventures: A Tale of Two Robots” was born. I cannot claim to be anything like the master that Jay O’Callahan is, but the planetarium staff have taken the stories I outlined and turned them into exciting adventure stories, weaving their words so you hope along with mission control that the rovers will persevere.
The show isn’t all fact-tales though, this is Pacific SCIENCE Center, and “interactive” is one of our watchwords. During a portion of the show guests get to conduct their own analysis of the surface of Mars. We update the show every week with the very newest pictures from the rovers, pictures so new there aren’t usually press releases from the scientists explaining them. So, you get to be the scientist. The planetarians will lead you through the photos asking you to make scientific observations and put forth your own hypotheses about what you see in the pictures. A warning about this for people who need to know “the” answer: the planetarian will not be able to tell you what the best answer is. As I said above, the scientists haven’t had a chance to release their findings about these pictures. That’s what I love about this portion, if you want an answer you have to think of one that matches all the clues you see, you have to be a scientist. You can always check NASA’s website in a few weeks and see what conclusions the scientists have come up with.
I intended this show to appeal to young and old alike, but the story sections might be a little long for children under six or seven. Also, as usual, children under four are only admitted to Preschool All-Stars – our short show expecially for preschoolers and their families. I recommend Martian Adventures: A Tale of Two Robots for anyone who likes discovering and stories.
Oh, and of course we show you where to find Mars in tonight’s sky!
~ A l i c e !