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 [also] 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 3-D film in the IMAX® Theater; a special edition of Science on a Sphere about the Red Planet, a custom 3-D 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 will offer an experience unlike anywhere else, and, along with the companion program Mars Base 1, will bring guests as close to training, living and working on the Red Planet as possible without leaving Earth.
Simultaneously in the country of Brazil students ages 9 to 14 are attending The Asteroid Mission program with instructors trained in the United States on the key concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
In the ATX center, groups and individuals will experience training like a real astronaut using virtual reality and simulators. Training activities include landing on Mars, walking on its surface, driving on the rough terrain and experiencing microgravity. Or they can spend the day working on Mars as a rookie astronaut on Mars Base 1. Guests will be transported to the Red Planet, dock with Mars Base 1 and work in the Plant Lab, operate robotics and solve engineering challenges – just like the astronauts who will one day travel to Mars. Technology such as floor-to-ceiling 4K screens will create a realistic experience and participants will feel as though they’re actually being transported to Mars. Each guest will receive a summary of activities including STEM subjects utilized and suggested future careers related to the day’s accomplishments.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities, including its newest attraction, Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® presented by Boeing, which opened November 11, 2016. Other highlights include the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3-D and Journey To Space 3-D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, Rocket Garden, Cosmic Quest, and many other exhibits. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3–11.
For more information on the fifth-grade free offer, visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.
*Limit [is] three free children’s tickets per paying adult. Not valid for use with any other offers (Florida resident, military, etc.).