If the landing on Mars of NASA's Curiosity rover has launched off your imagination, then come along to the Natural History Museum's Science Uncovered event this month and explore everything there is to know about Mars.
Ever wondered what it would be like to travel to, and live, on Mars? During the free Science Uncovered event on Friday 28 September, visitors can watch a live link to scientists who are experiencing just this as they live in the most remote place on the planet, the Concordia Station in Antarctica.
The planet Mars. It's our closest Earth-like planet and many of its rocks are similar to Earth's.
The live link will be part of Messengers from Mars, a Nature Live talk where visitors will find out more about this experiment and also about meteorites and the clues they give us about the planet.
Museum scientist Natasha Stephen will be giving the talk and recently contacted Alexander Kumar, who is part of the team in Antarctica. She says, ‘The team went out to Concordia Station in January and will be back in time for Christmas. They’re 8 months in and are in good spirits!’
They will face 9 months of total isolation, 3 months of which is in complete darkness, as part of a human spaceflight research project to see how people would cope with a mission to Mars.
Also at Science Uncovered, researchers at the forefront of planetary science, including those from the Museum, will share their latest studies at the Space Station, one of 20 science stations on the night.
The Science Uncovered event will be the Museum's biggest. Doors are open from 4pm untill 11pm. This festival of science attracted more than 13,000 people over the last 2 years and is part of European Researchers' Night happening in venues all over Europe.
Tissint meteorite on the digital specimen table. It is the largest Martian meteorite in the Museum's collection.
Also on show at Science Uncovered Space Station will be the Tissint Martian meteorite. It is the largest Martian meteorite in the Museum's collection and fell to Earth in Morocco in July 2011. It's thought to be less contaminated than many other meteorites and so is extremely important to scientists who want to know more about Mars.
And keep a look out for the state-of-the-art digital specimen table called Inside Explorer where you can have a go at cutting through Tissint, virtually anyway. A hand swipe and zoom in using the 55-inch interactive screen lets you uncover amazing hidden detail in ways never before possible.
A private company is planning to send people on a one-way trip to Mars in 2023, would you go? This is one of the questions on the menu at the Science Bar where you can chat to scientists over a drink.
Mars is our closest Earth-like planetary neighbour and probably the most likely place to find signs of life. We know that there was water on Mars, and inactive volcanoes show there was once energy. Water and energy are two necessities for life.
So, if you want to get a step closer to understanding the magic of Mars, come along to the free Science Uncovered event on 28 September.