Mars Day 2021
was an exciting free new virtual event adventure for everyone,
organised by the UK Space Education Office (ESERO-UK),
STEM Learning and the UK Space Agency.
Thousands joined in the mission and zoomed in for for an awesome array of live link-ups, talks and fireside chats from national and international space VIPs…
Over the course of one day, Mars Day 2021 celebrated NASA Perseverance Rover’s first month on Mars; unveiled the role of the UK space industry in this mission and beyond; hosted UK STEM Ambassador and school sessions with live Q&A.
Mission crew landed on their favourite Mars topic, booked for a session or two, or joined in for the whole day! Some embarked on a solo mission, some joined with friends, family or their class at school…all booked in advance for their own Mars Day Mission!
A sky full of guest speakers and stars!
There was an unbelievable line-up on board with sessions throughout the day from our speaker crew below.
Check out the full details here and land on the links to view the Mars Day mission sessions on the STEM Learning YouTube account.
9.30 – 9.55
PERSEVERANCE, INGENUITY AND SCIENCE UNDER PRESSURE
Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut, talked to Dallas Campbell about missions to Mars, the challenges of flying helicopters on another planet and piloting a rover whilst in space.
10.30 – 11.00
UK SPACE AGENCY – MISSIONS AND PROGRAMMES
Everyone heard how the UK’s thriving space industry is involved in Mars missions, works with other spacefaring nations and has a unique STEM initiative to inspire young people – the One Million Interactions programme.
10.15 – 10.55
FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS – ROBOKIDS ACTIVITY
RoboKids took schools on a fun and inspiring journey into the future of space, programming and robots. An educational show for children aged 4-11.
10.15 – 11.15
SCHOOL SESSION FOR AGES 15+ – OUR FUTURE ON MARS
What are we doing to prepare for a future on Mars? Schools learnt about missions to Mars that are pushing humans beyond the Moon.
11.30 – 12.10
SCIENCE IN SPACE
This panel session of STEM Ambassadors featured hidden heroes working in (the) space (industry) whose adventures began by studying science subjects. Session Patron was Dr Suzie Imber, a space plasma physicist, a high altitude mountaineer, an explorer, and maybe one day, an astronaut!
12.15 – 12.55
TECHNOLOGY IN SPACE
Viewers discovered how this panel of STEM Ambassadors launched into the world of space technology! Dr Jackie Bell was this session’s Patron, a previous researcher in quantum chromodynamics, trainee astronaut and from Imperial College London’s Department of Computing.
13.00 – 13.40
ENGINEERING IN SPACE
This sessions’ Patron, John Chinner from Airbus, was joined by a panel of STEM Ambassadors who work in space exploration having studied engineering. Their missions include Rosetta, the Solar Orbiter and the ExoMars rover launching in 2022 to Mars.
13.45 – 14.25
MATHS IN SPACE
This panel of UK STEM Ambassadors covered how studying maths launches you into the space industry and beyond! Session Patron, Áine O’Brien, studies Planetary Science & Astrobiology and is part of the ExoMars outreach project, Roving with Rosalind.
13.45 – 14.45
SCHOOL SESSION FOR AGES 11-14 – VISIT OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AND BEYOND!
The Royal Observatory took students on an amazing journey to explore the wonders of the night sky in their virtual planetarium show.
15.00 – 15.45
NASA’S MARS MISSIONS – THE PAST, PERSEVERANCE, THE FUTURE
Dr Jim Green, NASA’s Chief Scientist, talked about his decades of experience at NASA; the incredible missions he has led as former Director of the agency’s Planetary Science Division; how Mars 2020 holds great promise for identifying evidence of past life on Mars.
16.15 – 17.00
FROM THE MOON TO MARS – YOUR PLACE IN SPACE
Humankind is ready to return to the Moon and go on to Mars. Dr Aldrin discusses how the democratization of space is making missions accessible to start-ups, independent companies and even schools! Plus, we heard about his experience of seeing Buzz Aldrin, his dad, on the Moon!
18.30 – 19.15
DRIVING ON MARS WITH CURIOSITY AND PERSEVERANCE
The start of this session was Sophia Mitchell, Lead Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and driver of the Mars Curiosity rover since 2018. With NASA’s Perseverance rover at the Jezero Crater, Sophia’s mission now is to drive the Perseverance rover! How cool is that?
19.30 – 20.30
SPACE ROCKS PRESENTS: MARS OR BUST. The concluding entry for Mars Day saw hosts Dr Suzie Imber and Dallas Campbell joined by the founders of Space Rocks for a deeper discussion on the challenges, opportunities, and motivations behind current focus on the Red Planet.
Heading up Mission Control for Mars Day were Dallas Campbell and Dr Suzie Imber. They have a galaxy full of experience in space discussions, exploration and interviewing space stars!
Hidden Heroes & Space Activities
There was also hidden heroes of the UK space industry revealing their missions and adventures, plus space activity sessions especially for schools. Mars Day 2021 also launched inaugural STEM Patron Sessions with four exclusive ‘fireside chats’:
Science in Space, Technology in Space, Engineering in Space and – yep you’ve guessed it – Maths in Space.
Each STEM Patron session featured an eminent speaker as subject ‘Patron’ with a panel of UK STEM Ambassadors working on projects across the vast UK space industry.
Dedicated space activity sessions were created for schools so that they had an opportunity to create their own Mars Day mission with students.
UK Space Agency and NASA Perseverance – discover the mission and space careers
The UK Space Agency installed the 7-metre Mars Artwork by Luke Jerram in the Natural History Museum to celebrate the UK’s involvement in the Perseverance Rover mission to Mars, landing 18 February 2021.
to Mars Day 2022…
As the 2021 mission was so successful, flight plans are being drawn up for Mars Day 2022.
The stardate is not set yet. We will announce further news on the next mission later in the year so follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.
We can’t wait to explore Mars with you again!
From the mission control team at ESERO-UK: over and out!
Images courtesy of: ESA –Stephane Corvaja – 2015, NASA-Bill Ingalls, NASA-Carla Cioffi, NASA-Joel Kowsky, NASA – JPL-Caltech, NASA-JPL-Caltech-USGS, Trustees of the National History Museum