What would life be like if Mars were your home?

As part of the sixth annual Space Day celebration, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe
announced today the launch of the Imagine Mars project at the opening ceremony for “Space
Day 2002 “Adventure to Mars!” at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum,
Washington, D.C. The project is a national arts, science and technology initiative that challenges
young people to imagine and design a livable Mars community of the future.

Co-sponsored by NASA and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Imagine Mars
project builds upon the success of the Mars Millennium project and the enthusiasm of its
hundreds of thousands of participants, many of whom asked that the project be continued after
the nation’s millennium celebration in 2000-2001.

Like its predecessor, the Imagine Mars project is a Web-based initiative that provides
educators and project leaders with lesson plans, Mars facts and other resources to lead student
project teams. The goal is to encourage students to explore their own community, to interact
with scientists, engineers, artists, architects and community leaders, and to understand the
different planetary environment on Mars. After they’ve conducted that research, they will
decide which arts, scientific and cultural elements would be important to include in their
imagined community on Mars.

“Through the arts and humanities, the Imagine Mars project opens the door to scientific
discovery for students and teachers who might not otherwise be exposed to the excitement of
Mars exploration,” said Michelle Viotti, Mars Public Engagement manager for NASA’s Mars
Exploration Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The best part is that
students are learning what makes life in their own communities so vibrant, even as they’re
engaging their imaginations in a futuristic Mars experience of their dreams.”

The Imagine Mars project draws from curricular materials and concepts developed for the
Mars Millennium project Web site, which received more than 10 million hits from around the
world. The interdisciplinary, educational nature of the project encouraged learning from students
of all interests, and allowed a great deal of flexibility for classrooms in their project participation.
For example, students in Fort Worth, Texas, transformed their schools into Mars colonies and
their schoolyards into futuristic Mars gardens, while young people in Baton Rouge, La., created
special dance movements depicting balance and motion problems that would be experienced by
future Mars explorers.

“The Mars Millennium project was amazing. We enhanced our parks. We wrote
symphonies. We launched rockets. The kids were on fire with learning,” said Ginger Head-
Gearheart from the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, who participated in the project
with the Fort Worth School District. “We are so pleased these educational opportunities will
continue to grow as the Imagine Mars project.”

Students will continue to share their projects online by uploading artwork and other
results to the Imagine Mars Web site at: http://ImagineMars.jpl.nasa.gov .
The site contains participation guides, resources for teachers, profiles of artists, engineers, and
scientists, and other interactive features.

On behalf of NASA and the National Endowment for the Arts, JPL manages the Imagine
Mars Project as part of the Mars Public Engagement program, which seeks to educate the public
about scientific discoveries and benefits of NASA’s missions to Mars. JPL is a division of the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.