MarsFest: Interplanetary Desert Adventure

Steer your saucer for a cosmic, science-cool Death Valley meet-up.

IF YOU WERE TO DRIVE A ROVER, as in the sort of Rover that covers many, many miles in space, how long would it take you to reach Death Valley National Park? It's a good question, starting with where your point of origin happens to be. Likewise, if you were to fly a spaceship, or a shuttle, or an old-school saucer, the kind from a vintage '50s flick, how soon before you set your ride down near Furnace Creek Resort? Again, that whole point of origin thing is kind of important. But you can leave your Rover in the garage, and your space-ready saucer, too, and simply make your way by car to Death Valley over the second weekend in March. That's when...

MARSFEST... will bloom with all of the mystery, beauty, and science that belongs to the famous Red Planet. A planet, of course, that lovers of the not-too-far-off sphere can't reach in a weekend, what with needing to be back for work on Monday and all. But Death Valley doubles nicely for an alien-awesome landscape, a landscape that will see visitors from SETI, the Jet Propulsion Labratory, the Death Valley Natural History Association, and a host of partners all play a part in the annual look-up outing, one that is all about sharing information "...about our planet and Solar System..."

THE UPCOMING MARS MISSIONS... will be a big topic, of course, as well as "...robotic and human exploration beyond Earth." Prepare to admire a Curiosity mini-rover, as well as other nifty science items at the on-site expo. There will be field trips around the national park during the March 10 to 12, 2017 run, as well as lectures and more at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Death Valley, like Mars, is vast, though, of course, not quite as vast as our neighboring planet. Best, though, read all the details before setting off for outer space. Er, rather, we mean the desert, of course, which can look quite rocky, and Mars-like, in the right light. A true treat for those who dream of what's beyond our home turf.

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