2013 Space Center Houston Mars Exploration Exhibit

September 1st, 2014 - August 31st, 2016 | PROJECT

The Mars Exploration Exhibit is a new public exhibition designed to provide experiential learning opportunities for students, educators and the public while inspiring greater excitement about space science. The exhibit emphasizes the importance of STEM education and careers through practical application and inquiry-based learning. Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of Johnson Space Center, is creating the new Mars landscape simulation in partnership with the Houston Independent School District and University of Houston Clear Lake. The exhibit will offer interactive science education activities that will be delivered through distance learning and onsite instruction at Space Center Houston. Utilizing research-based practices in both formal and informal learning environments, the project will help to attract and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It will also foster life-long learning and enthusiasm toward the promise of space science and innovation. This unique exhibit will enable students and Space Center Houston’s more than 800,000 annual visitors to increase their knowledge of Earth science and apply their learning to the Mars environment. The exhibit will also highlight the role NASA missions serve in scientific innovation. The project will build the capacity of the Greater Houston community and school-based organizations to engage girls, minorities and other underrepresented students in STEM learning. It will offer in-depth science education for low-performing and gifted/talented students, ultimately bridging achievement gaps, increasing student performance and cultivating greater interest in science. Project outcomes will include: a 1,500-square-foot Mars landscape exhibition; interactive video presentations highlighting water recovery and other environmental processes; a standards-based learning curriculum aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS ) and National Science Standards; and a menu of K-12 experiential learning activities focused on water, air, renewable energy and other critical science topics.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Janet Brown, Principal Investigator, Space Center Houston
Melanie Johnson, Co-Principal Investigator, Space Center Houston
Paul Spana, Co-Principal Investigator, Space Center Houston
Meg Naumann, Author, Space Center Houston


Funding Source: NASA
Funding Program: CP4SMP
Award Number: NNX14AD09G
Funding Amount: $575,000


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Engineering | Space science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Games | Simulations | Interactives | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits