Mars at Carnegie Science Center

Check out ‘Mars: The Next Giant Leap,’ now open at the Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center has unveiled the most ambitious exhibit in its 30-year history. It’s called “Mars: The Next Giant Leap.” This $4.5 million project has been two years in the making and replaces Robo-world.

Think about what it would be like to live on Mars… what kind of house might you live in? How do you grow food? And what future do we choose? These are some of the many questions visitors are asked to ponder at this new exhibit.

Photo courtesy of KDKA.

“The whole idea behind the exhibition is looking at our life on Earth thru the lens of Mars,” says Jason Brown, the Henry Buhl, Jr. Director of Carnegie Science Center.

Brown says the Science Center gathered questions from the local community and incorporated them into the exhibit, which is already getting reviews that are out of this world.

Mars at Carnegie Science Center
Photo courtesy of KDKA.

A group of students from Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania Charter School in Baldwin were among the first kids to see the exhibit.

“It’s a 10 out of 10,” said Junior Mulbah, a sixth-grader.

Seventh-grader Jocelyn Harley found it fascinating: “I think it’s just crazy to think about what’s beyond Earth.”

Kayleigh Johnson, an eighth-grader, described learning about space this way: “There’s endless possibilities to it. There’s no end.”

And 6th grader Austin Tanohye said, “There’s billions, trillions of stars in other lands that could be suitable for life and may have life and it would be cool to find someone who is not us.”

The exhibit features all kinds of interactive areas. Kids love making the robotic rovers travel over Mars’ rough terrain, learning about the planet and the moon in an interactive Q & A, and seeing how plants could grow on Mars using hydroponics. All of it relates back to life here on Earth.

“The same technology we can use to grow food on Mars,” Brown says, “can be used to help with food insecurity here on Earth.”

Pittsburgh has a growing space industry, with Astrobotic building the next lunar lander just a few blocks away, and CMU’s robotics institute. Mayor Ed Gainey hopes this exhibit will inspire local kids to pursue careers in space and STEM right here at home.

“A new… venture, exploration to Mars, something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Sometimes I feel like I live in Star Wars,” Gainey said, which got a good laugh from the crowd gathered for the exhibit’s ribbon-cutting.

The new Mars exhibit is now open to Carnegie Science Center members and opens to the general public Saturday, Nov. 19. It’s a permanent exhibit, but is designed to evolve and change with space exploration itself.