From Project Mercury to Planet Mars Summative Evaluation

December 20th, 2018 | EVALUATION

The Museum of Science, Boston led the From Project Mercury to Planet Mars: Introducing Engineering and Inspiring Youth through Humanity’s Greatest Adventure project (FPMPM) as a way to produce and share high-quality informal engineering education opportunities about the topic of human space travel to Mars. The grant involved the creation of two products that address human space travel to Mars: an immersive full-dome planetarium show and a hands-on engineering design challenge. To evaluate the grant work, the Research & Evaluation Department at the Museum of Science, Boston conducted a summative evaluation study that gathered surveys, interviews, and observations from more than 100 youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston who viewed the planetarium show and participated in the design challenge. The evaluation assessed what participants learned, the extent to which the content increased participants’ opinions that space exploration is important, the extent to which the content increased youth’s interest in future activities and careers in engineering and science, the extent of youth engagement with the content, and the extent to which participants recognize that they did things like what engineers do. Key findings include the planetarium show supporting learning about the technology and engineering involved in human space travel and design challenge respondents reporting increased interest in learning about human space exploration at school, taking college classes in science or engineering, and becoming a scientist or engineer.

Appendix includes survey and literature review.



Team Members

Annette Sawyer, Principal Investigator, Museum of Science, Boston
Katie Todd, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston
Leigh Ann Mesiti, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston
Alex Lussenhop, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston
Keith Allison, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston


Funding Source: NASA
Award Number: NNX16AM21G
Funding Amount: $912,536

Related URLs

From Project Mercury to Planet Mars


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Engineering | Space science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Programs | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere | Public Programs