Courtesy NASA/MOLA Science Team/O. de Goursac, Adrian Lark.
With the recent wave of satellite exploration around Mars and landers and
rovers on the surface of the planet, knowledge of Mars is greatly
increasing. Much of that research is taking place right here in Arizona. The
Arizona Museum of Natural History is working with THEMIS (Thermal Emission
Imaging System) at Arizona State University and the Phoenix Mars Mission at
the University of Arizona, as well as other Arizona resources, to bring
these new interpretations to the public.
Mars is in some respects a fossil planet. It now lacks the movement of
great portions of its crust that continually reworks the surface of the
Earth. This gives us a view of Mars billions of years in the past at a
resolution impossible on Earth. We find that Mars was once far more like
Earth. Likewise, today’s Mars may give us some idea what lies ahead for the
Earth of tomorrow. Mars is about half the size of Earth, and its molten core
has long cooled down. Earth may one day resemble its smaller sibling.
The Mars! exhibition explored the evidence for this. In addition,
Mars! featured outstanding interactive components. The exhibition
explored a canyon on Mars, Valles Marineris, that stretches the length of
the United States and a volcano as large as Arizona, Olympus Mons. It even
presented a genuine piece of Mars!
No exhibition about Mars would be complete without an exploration of the
possibility of life on the planet. The exhibition examined the methodology
and technology for determining whether there is or was life on Mars. It
explored life on earth that endures conditions similar to Mars, including
what to look for and the unusual places life can exist, such as two miles
below the Earth’s surface. Mars! examined fossils on Earth that
might resemble any fossil remains potentially found on Mars and considered
how scientists might recognize them as fossils.
Finally, Mars! explored the technology that yields our modern
understanding of Mars and that will answer future questions about the
planet. This portion of the exhibition featured models of the actual Mars
Explore the process of dune formation on Mars.
Experiment with the possibility of water on Mars.
Measure your weight on Mars.
53 N. Macdonald
Mesa, AZ 85201
(One block north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. Take US 60 or 202 to
Country Club Drive, go to Main Street, and proceed one-half mile east to