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Public Invited to "Next Stop: Mars" Event at NASA Goddard
Artist's concept of the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity Rover. › View larger
Artist's concept of the Curiosity rover on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Md. will host a public event on July 28 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT to celebrate in advance the landing of NASA's latest Mars rover, Curiosity. This free event is for families with middle school aged children and younger.

The landing of the Curiosity rover is anticipated at approximately 1:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6 (10:31 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5).

The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, with Curiosity aboard, launched Nov. 26, 2011. During the two-year prime mission, the Curiosity rover will investigate whether one of the most interesting places on Mars, Gale crater, ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

Goddard scientists developed the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard the Curiosity rover, which can identify a wide range of organic compounds in Martian rock and soil, and within the atmosphere. SAM will act as an automated, mobile laboratory as it explores Mars' Gale crater while tucked inside Curiosity.

During the free public event, students and families will be able to participate in hands on educational activities led by SAM scientists and engineers, Education and Public Outreach staff, and volunteers. Experience:
  • Presentations by SAM scientists and engineers
  • Science On a Sphere shows
  • NASA photo booth
  • 3-D Mars image gallery
  • Chemistry show/demonstrations
  • Exhibits – Full-scale inflatable Curiosity rover, full-scale rover wheel, examples of rocks like we might find on Mars, and ongoing Visitor Center exhibits
No reservations are needed so bring the entire family. The Visitor Center is located on IceSat Road in Greenbelt, Md. Parking is available on a first come, first served basis.

For more information at Mars Science Laboratory and SAM visit:

To learn more about events at the Goddard Visitor Center, visit:

Goddard Release No. 12-061

Nancy Neal Jones
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.