Mars Landing Site Scavenger Hunt

  The Mars Landing Site Scavenger Hunt activity was developed to give participants a structured way to explore the map and learn about the history of Mars exploration with or without a tour guide. Information sheets were created for each of the 14 spacecraft that have landed on Mars, as well as the Mars 2020 rover mission that will launch in July 2020. The front side has information and pictures from the mission and the back side has a portion of the global map with the landing site in the center . 

  During public events, participants are given a binder with all 15 information sheets and are challenged to find each of the locations. During educational events, classes are broken into 15 groups and each group is given one landing site to find as well as a colored cone corresponding to the outcome of the mission (successful, failed, future). Once all the landing sites had been located, students are told to raise their hands based on their mission’s country of origin (USA,ESA, USSR), so they can see how many missions each country has sent. They are then asked to raise their hands based on the color of their cones, which is when they discover which missions succeeded and which missions failed. The students are then asked to gather around the “future mission” cone and are given a short introduction to the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission.


The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) have been acquiring infrared images of Mars for more than 16 years. The best-quality images from the mission have been compiled into a global mosaic at 100 m/pixel resolution and printed on a walkable basketball-court-sized vinyl mat to spread awareness and excitement about Mars exploration!

Homepage Background Image: Full-disk image of Mars with the Tharis volcanoes in the west and Valles Marineris in the east from the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Mars Color Camera (MCC). Image courtesy of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Indian Space Science Data Center (ISSDC) and Emily Lakdawalla.