Mission to Mars Challenge

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On Feb. 18th, 2021 NASA will attempt to land the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on the surface of the Red Planet. To celebrate this effort NASA has created the Mission to Mars Student Challenge. This challenge will allow students to design, build, and land their own spacecraft – just like what NASA is doing!

More About the Challenge

By participating in the Mission to Mars Student Challenge, you can land your own rover, too. Activities include:

  • A flexible, guided five-week education plan for elementary, middle, and high school students with standards-aligned STEM lessons and activities from NASA.
  • A weekly newsletter with links to tips and resources related to the mission phase of the week.
  • Video conversations with mission scientists and engineers highlighting how their work relates to what students are learning – plus, ideas to kick-start the weekly challenge.
  • Opportunities to participate in Q&As with mission experts and to submit student questions and work that could be featured during NASA broadcasts leading up to and on landing day.

With the STEM toolkit in hand, you can learn more about the mission and have some fun while you’re at it. You’ll find:

  • Stories on the students who named Perseverance and Ingenuity.
  • Crisp animations highlighting the rover and helicopter.
  • Opportunities to code your own Mars-exploration games.
  • Make space-themed crafts.
  • And much, much more.

NASA’s Perseverance rover

NASA’s Perseverance rover is about the size of a SUV and was launched July 30th, 2020 and has a planned mission duration of 1 Mars year ( 668 sols, 687 Earth Days). The Perseverance rover’s main mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. Onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover is a small Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. The helicopter is an experiment designed to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. 

You can watch the landing event live on NASA TV and the agency’s website, starting at 2:15pm EST on Feb. 18th. Touchdown will take place around 3:55pm EST. 

To read more about the challenge:

To learn more about Perseverance:

To learn more about Ingenuity: