On Friday, July 27, space lovers from throughout the state braved the rain to enjoy Liberty Science Center's Mars Madness event. This summer, Mars is closer and brighter to Earth than it has been for 15 years, so we pulled out all the stops for an unforgettable night celebrating the Red Planet!
All throughout the building, guests of all ages enjoyed fun space-themed activities, including a Mars-style hamster ball race, planetary face painting, alien puppet-making, an egg drop gravity challenge, drone flying, and more.
All over the building, there were hands-on science demonstrations. Blast Off! was a fan favorite that taught guests the action and reaction principles that allow rockets to fly.
In our labs, guests experimented with volcanoes, craters, and learned all about what makes Mars unique. "There may well have been life there sometime in the past, and maybe there still is today," said guest Mohammed Nurse from West New York. He cited the recent discovery that scientists may have found a 12-mile wide lake of liquid water on Mars as an example of one of the exciting recent breakthroughs.
One of the highlights of the night was the brand new planetarium show, Summer of Mars LIVE!, in LSC's Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. During the show, guests got an up-close look at Mars and learned about recent NASA missions to the Red Planet.
Additional shows included a special Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon Laser Show at midnight, and a Mars presentation in our Weston Family Lab for Earth and Space Exploration.
Guests also enjoyed a live presentation about how the Red Planet plays a role in science fiction, led by Lonny Buinis of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.
Of course, no celebration would be complete without refreshments! In addition to delicious snacks, guests 21 and over enjoyed Mars-themed cocktails like the "MARSgarita."
Many guests said that learning about Mars made them feel nostalgic.
“I was obsessed with space as a kid, and it’s great to be here now reliving the hype now that I understand it a little bit more,” said Eric Parra of Bayonne.
Thanks to everyone who came out for making Mars Madness so special. For those who missed it, don't worry – you can still see Mars throughout the rest of the summer! Visit a show in the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and learn from our planetarium presenters about how you can spot Mars and why it's so close to Earth this year. Click here to see a full list of theater shows.