Mission to Mars Student Challenge for Summer Camps - Kids' Sessions!

These live webinars let you learn directly from JPL scientists and engineers discussing their STEM careers! You can send questions in advance when you register, or ask in the chat during the event.  All events will be recorded and posted here.





Learn About Mars
Joey Jefferson, Mars 2020 Lead Deep Space Network Scheduler


Before we can launch to Mars, we need to learn more about where we’re going and why. This will help us design our mission and plan for launch, arrival, and surface operations. Joey Jefferson, Mars 2020 Lead Deep Space Network Scheduler at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory can answer your questions about Mars.

Plan Your Mission
Elio Morillo, Mars 2020 System Testbed Engineer

Now that we have some knowledge about our destination, it’s time to plan our mission to Mars. We need to plan for a long trip, determine which power source we’ll use, select science instruments that will help us accomplish our goals, make sure everything will fit on the rocket, and stay under budget! Elio Morillo, a testbed engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, can answer your questions about how NASA plans missions to Mars.   
Build Your Spacecraft
Keri Bean, Mars 2020 Helicopter Integration Engineer

Now that we’ve planned our mission, it’s time to design – and test – our spacecraft. This is what engineers at NASA do – design, test, redesign, retest – when trying to come up with the best solution for a problem. Keri Bean is a former rover driver, current Ingenuity helicopter integration engineer, and a model robotics hobbiest. She can answer your questions about how NASA designs, tests, and builds spacecraft.
Launch to Mars
John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager

Now that we’ve designed our spacecraft, it’s time to launch our mission. What kind of rocket would perform best?  Is flight distance or accuracy more important? John Callas, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) can answer your questions about how NASA launches spacecraft.
Land on Mars
Dr. Ota Lutz, Senior Education Specialist

It’s time to land on Mars! NASA engineers have to do a lot of designing, testing, and redesigning to make sure spacecraft can land safely. This includes designing and testing each part of the landing system to perform each landing maneuver flawlessly all on its own - and to slow from nearly 12,500 miles (20,000 kilometers) per hour upon entering the atmosphere to about 2 miles (3 kilometers) per hour by the time they're just above the surface.
Surface Operations
Claire Newman, Mars 2020 Research Scientist
Having safely landed on Mars, now we’re ready to explore, identifying areas of geological interest and putting scientific instruments to use. One of the most challenging parts of the Perseverance rover mission is collecting samples of Mars rocks and soil, placing those samples into tubes, and leaving them strategically on the surface, where they could eventually be collected and returned to Earth by a future mission.    Claire Newman is a Mars 2020 Research Scientist and can answer your questions about Mars science and surface operations.


Educators: learn how to teach Mission to Mars Student Challenge or Mission to the Moon with these summer camp-focused trainings.

This special resource has been made available to all viewers.  Please note that (free) membership is required for full access to the Museum & Informal Education Alliance site; please visit Join Our Community to learn more. The Museum & Informal Education Alliance is designed for adult educators.

Resource Type: 
Education Activities
NASA Resources
Aeronautics Research
Mars 2020