Mars regained the world’s attention this fall, with recent news of the discovery of liquid water on the planet and a new blockbuster film set on Earth’s nearest neighbor, The Martian. This is a timely moment to focus on Red Planet Day, November 28.
Celebrate the fourth planet from our solar system’s sun with our series of blogs discussing general information about Mars, some of the more than 40 space missions humans have launched to study the planet, a section on the future of Mars and plans for manned missions to the planet, and concluding with links to fiction and non-fiction on Mars.
From Mars Hill near Flagstaff, the location of the main facility of Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered, to the Lunar Planetary Laboratory (LPL) at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Kitt Peak, which houses a massive collection of diverse astronomical instruments, our state has a long storied history in astronomy and with the Red Planet. UA’s LPL has been involved with the Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Polar Lander, Mars Observer, Viking, HiRISE and Mars Reconnaissance Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, Mars Pathfinder, Beagle 2, Mars Exploration Rovers, and MAVEN missions to our crimson neighbor among many other lunar, planetary, and solar missions to study our solar system and the galaxies beyond.
In this pioneering, exploratory spirit, Heritage Elementary School, your Glendale charter school, has paired with the other campuses in our district to put together a retrospective on 50 years of successful exploration on Mars for you to enjoy with your child and commemorate Red Planet Day. You can also enjoy the word search created especially for this topic.
Want to Know More?
The night sky still fascinates mankind as it has since ancient times. From the first notice of planets traveling across the sky and the naming of stars and constellations to the fascination with the moon, the heavens have intrigued and inspired scientists, artists, and others to reach beyond the confines of our own planet. Wonder about the worlds beyond our own led to technological advances we use every day, and, now, those worlds are closer than they have been in generations. The discoveries and missions to our celestial neighbor are inspiring people around the world, much like man’s first steps on the moon.
If these articles piqued your interest, or your child’s, you can find more information on Mars and the exploration missions with the list of sources compiled below. The list includes textual resources on mission and planet information, plus some entertaining and intriguing documentaries.
Enjoy … and here’s to hoping you have a thought-provoking and educational Red Planet Day!
- “All Fun: Red Planet Day.” LibraryPoint
- “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books set on or about Mars.” GoodReads [list includes adult, young adult, and children’s books]
- “Mars Recommended Reading.” The Mars Society
Mars, the Red Planet:
- “Mars.” The Planetary Society
- “Mars Exploration.” NASA
- “Mars.” National Geographic
- “Mars Facts.” Nine Planets
- “Mars Facts.” Space—Facts—
- “Exploring Mars.” Space Today Online
- “The Secret Story of Planet Mars.” National Geographic Documentary [Video]
- “Mars the Red Planet.” Space Universe Documentary via Discovery Channel [Video]
- “MarsTrek.” NASA/JPL-Caltech [Explore the surface of Mars]
- “HiRISE: Explore Mars, One Giant Image at a Time.” University of Arizona
- “Robotic Mars Exploration.” NASA
- “Mars Rovers.” National Geographic [Video]
- “Mission to Mars.” National Geographic Kids [Articles, Activities, & Games]
- “Landing on Mars in Search of Life.” Space Universe Documentary via Discovery Channel [Video]
- “Red Planet Rover.” Discovery Channel [Video]
- “The Curious Life of a Mars Rover.” National Geographic Live [Video]
Men on Mars:
- “Journey to Mars.” NASA
- “The Big Idea: Making Mars the New Earth.” National Geographic
- “Mars One.” Mars One
- “Can Mars Be Colonized?” Science Space Documentary via Discovery Channel [Video]
- “The Mars Underground.” Blue Mars [Video]