Space Exploration Day, on July 20, celebrates a giant leap for humankind – it commemorates the day when the first human being walked on the moon on July 20, 1969.
On this day, let's zip up our space suits, strap on our helmets and get ready to blast off to the incredible Red Planet, Mars! For this mission, we've got rovers, drones and exciting discoveries — buckle up, it's going to be an out-of-this-world ride!
The Curiosity Rover Is Crushing It
Since 2012 (the same year Gangnam Style went viral worldwide), the Curiosity Rover has been our buddy on Mars. Imagine it like a really complicated remote-controlled car, but one that is roaming on a far-off planet! Its mission? To explore Mount Sharp, an enormous mountain, in the center of a massive crater, that is as tall as some of the highest peaks on Earth. Here, Curiosity has found some cool stuff that makes us think Mars might've had water in the past. How neat is that?!
Exploring For Life with Perserverance Rover
We have a new friend on Mars, the Perseverance Rover. It's like a rolling science lab, but its job is a bit different from Curiosity's. Perseverance is on a detective mission to find any signs of tiny, ancient life forms on Mars! Right now, it's in the Jezero Crater, an old lakebed, and a perfect place to look for these clues.
High-Flying Adventures with Ingenuity
Now, this is pretty rad - we have a drone named Ingenuity flying around Mars! Imagine a small helicopter buzzing around the Martian sky. Ingenuity was meant to be just a test flight, but it's doing so well that it's now helping to plan routes and spot interesting things for the rovers to investigate.
Earth's Solar Eclipse
Totality stage of the solar eclipse during the Great American Eclipse as seen from near Douglas, Wyoming. (Photo/Rick Wicker)
Speaking of cool space events, did you know there's going to be a total solar eclipse in the United States in April 2024? It's like the moon photobombing the sun! To get the best view, make sure to check out eclipse2024.org for all the details.
This blog provides updates from Dr. Steve Lee, retired space sciences curator at the Museum, who shared his research at our latest monthly “60 Minutes in Space.”