We have all imagined what it might be like to go into space, to land on Mars, to be an astronaut. Now at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida you and your family can live it.
Learning about science and space is important, but experiencing the trials and actively participating in simulations of life on another planet gives education a whole new perspective.
There are two parts to the new program, the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) and Mars Base 1. These both are pretty much all-day events, though there are shorter options available should you prefer.
Keep that in mind because you will want to give yourself plenty of time for each, and time to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Astronaut Training Experience (ATX)
The virtual reality Walk-on-Mars, Land-and-Drive-on-Mars full-motion simulator, Launch Mission and Spacewalk Training are all part of the ATX. This experience is hands on and high tech. If you or your children already love science and have a fascination with space, this will bring that passion to life. Prepare for your mission to Mars by training like a real NASA astronaut headed to space. Once you have been through ATX, Kennedy Space Center has taken it one step further with Mars Base 1. Ever wanted to take a space walk? How about a zero-gravity experience, where you fix space equipment like a real astronaut would? You and your team are strapped into special seats just like the real thing and you are handed tools to maintain the equipment you need to function day to day in space, using NASA techniques to solve problems. Navigate Mars terrain to deliver needed goods in your own space rover — be careful, it can get very bumpy. Don’t worry, you receive training so your skills are up to par before you are sent on these harrowing missions.
You can do any of these as “mini missions” if you don’t have time to do them all at once in a five-hour spurt. Each stage takes about 30-45 minutes.
Keep in mind that this program takes about five hours and does not include admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Mars Base 1
What could be cooler than a day actually spent on Mars? Not an hour or a walk through a display, but a real day working and surviving on the planet’s surface doing real science? If like me your answer is that nothing could be cooler than this, then there is no other place to be. Become a “rookie astronaut” participating in simulations and scientific research to grow and analyze crops in the Mars Botany Lab, or use robots to accomplish tasks. Yes, you actually take part in these activities, and grow real food that is really used and consumed.
Again, keep in mind that this program takes about five hours and does not include admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
There is so much to do and learn that goes beyond what we imagine. Having the real life science and innovation at your finger tips melds what we learn in books with what we actually put our hands on. Both the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) and Mars Base 1 offer the magic of space travel without leaving the ground. Plan your visit, first stop Florida, final destination the Red Planet, Mars.
You will really want to save some time to visit Kennedy Space Center as well, it’s quite an experience on it’s own. At least a full day, more if you want to see and take part in everything the attraction has to offer. There are endless museums, theaters, an IMAX, shows, hands-on demonstrations, items belonging to astronauts, satellites and ships that have been in space, and of course, there are opportunities to meet astronauts themselves. And of course, there is an app for that. Should you want, the Kennedy Space Center Official Guide App is available for free in both the App Store and Google Play. Fun.
See all the details on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s website, Kennedyspacecenter.com, or on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram