An artist's concept of MAVEN in orbit around Mars. Image source: NASA.
NASA continues on schedule to launch its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) probe to Mars on Monday November 18, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has planned a number of events in the days leading up to the launch.
From their press release:
The Visitor Complex will celebrate the MAVEN launch with four days of special launch-related activities, including a presentation on Sunday, Nov. 17 by Bill Nye of the Emmy award-winning TV show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy®.” Nye will speak to guests, preparing them for the launch of the MAVEN spacecraft. Nye is the chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest group, as well as a scientist, former Boeing engineer, stand-up comedian, author, inventor and man on a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society. He is the host of three currently running TV shows including “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” on the Science Channel, “The Eyes of Nye” on PBS and “Stuff Happens” on Planet Green.
From Thursday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 17, Visitor Complex guests can discover a wide array of displays, exhibits and models themed around Humans 2 Mars including:
- Learn about Humans 2 Mars by the 2030s; Mars past, present and future; recent scientific discoveries on Mars; and NASA’s Launch Services Program
- Mark the 10th anniversary of Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity
- View Mars as Art and a 3D Mars landscapes complete with 3D glasses
- Take the exploration challenge playing interactive games
- Stand next to a 30-foot tall inflatable Space Launch System and a six-foot tall Atlas rocket model
- Explore the future of human space exploration through displays on the Space Launch System, Orion capsule, Commercial Crew Program and a manned Mars mission
Guests also have the opportunity to hear firsthand from experts about the fascinating science behind MAVEN during daily presentations including:
- Nov. 14, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Kelly Fast, MAVEN program scientist, NASA Headquarters
- Nov. 15, 11 a.m., Sandra Cauffman, MAVEN deputy project manager, Goddard Space Flight Center and 4 p.m., Dave Lavery, program executive for Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters
- Nov. 16, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Jim Green, NASA planetary science chief, NASA headquarters
- Nov. 17, 11 a.m., Sandra Cauffman, MAVEN deputy manager, Goddard Space Flight Center and 2 p.m., Bill Nye the Science Guy
All presentations and special displays and exhibits are included in regular admission to the Visitor Complex.