“Summer of Mars” Promises Inspiration for the Next Generation of Space Explorers

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 26, incoming fifth graders (for fall 2017) who visit with a full-admission-paying-adult*, will receive free, one-day admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The “Ticket to Mars” is available via the following link: KennedySpaceCenter.com/SummerOfMars. The ticket can be printed and then presented at any ticket window, along with one of the following as proof of age: a fourth-grade report card verifying that the child is an incoming fifth grader, a passport or birth certificate. The offer will run through Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 2017.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex created the offer to provide deeper context and understanding of the U.S. space program, by supporting the fourth and fifth grade elementary school curriculums nationwide that include space exploration as an area of study. The Summer of Mars is designed to not only pique their interest, but inspire the age group that experts estimate will be among the first astronauts to make the trip to Mars when that journey becomes not only possible but probable. The immersive, edutainment-style activities and experiences at the visitor complex are an effective way for kids to learn about the future of NASA as it pertains to Mars. 

“Our aim is to inspire kids at this age with memorable space experiences and add a layer of excitement to what they are learning in school by bringing it to life,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “When they leave here, we want them to be inspired by what they saw, heard and felt here, and wanting to learn more. We want them to feel connected to NASA’s Journey to Mars.” 

The focus on Mars as the next space destination is incorporated as a theme throughout Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Activities with a Mars focus include the Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted live theater and interactive experience; the Journey to Space 3D  film in the IMAX® Theater; a special edition of Science on a Sphere about the Red Planet, a custom 3D Eyes on the Universe presentation highlighting the last two decades of our robotic exploration on Mars; Cosmic Quest, an interactive game that includes missions to Mars, including building a Mars habitat; and Camp KSC, a series of week-long day camps, which has a Mars-focused curriculum. 

The culmination of the Summer of Mars campaign will be the opening of the new Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) center. Scheduled to open in fall 2017, it