Mars

Updated: Jul 7

"The ship came down from space. It came from the stars and the black velocities, and the shining movements, and the silent gulfs of space."

~from Ray Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven!"


Today, NASA JPL's fifth rover (a robotic exploratory vehicle) plummets through the red planet's atmosphere in "seven minutes of terror" to reach the surface of Mars. There, Perseverance will join Curiosity, as the two deeper meanings are wont to do. Their forebears, Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, have already gone silent (though only in the robotic sense as their metaphorical significance endures, too.)

There is so much out there about the brilliant explorations of Mars, a planet that has caught humanity's eye for thousands of years and inspired so many dreams, books, films, and more. Bradbury first published the above story in 1948, one of many that endeared the man's writings to me growing up. Bradbury's visits to space were like Carroll's rabbit holes and looking glasses, another way to examine and move and challenge ourselves.


Great Links

Other (more knowledgeable) folks have already put together some fabulous sites and resources about Mars and the rovers so I'm sharing rather than duplicating. Below are just a few that you might want to explore.

And if you follow any of those links, I guarantee you'll find more to explore! Just search "Mars" in your chosen search engine or on You Tube.


Want more kid-specific stuff? We can do that, too! Check out NASA's kid site for the rovers or download coloring pages of the rovers and planets. You can also play an online Mars rover game!


Mars Reading

Also, dear to my heart, you can find many wonderful picture books about Mars for kids, including some new ones coming out this year. I loaded several fiction and nonfiction picture books about Mars and the rovers (and a few older level books) into my Bookshop page. Some are super fantastical while others present some great facts to get kids thinking about space exploration as well as the ways that exploration relates to life at home. You can find more at your local library and bookstore! Space.com has a great list of kid and adult titles about Mars.

Among the books listed are two coming out this year, Jim McGowan and Graham Carter's Good Night, Oppy (coming in September and available for pre-order) and Stacy McAnulty and Stevie Lewis' latest Mars! Earthlings Welcome (coming in a few days, February 23). You can join McAnulty for a book launch that's sure to be fabulous AND download this great activity booklet full of fun illustrations and more to do. As soon as I get a new ink cartridge, I am!


7 Minutes of Terror

What else? I know there's so much more to say and share, but you're probably ready to go explore on your own. So, I'll leave you with a few videos, beginning with the "7 minutes of terror" that the rovers (and their operators, remotely) experience as they plunge to Mars.


For Martian Younglings


And my personal favorite, because I love all TMGB kid songs ...


Now, go persevere ...


Update ...

Percy made it! Huzzah! Here's the first pic:


And here's a link to some great videos from NASA JPL about Mars and the rovers. You can also subscribe to a podcast about missions to Mars. Finally, have questions? Ask ROV-E!

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