Now Boarding: MarsFest in Death Valley

Venture to the amazing landscape for a weekend devoted to a next-door planet.

PACKING TO GO TO SPACE? You'll want to consider how many months, or years, you might be gone, and if there is a treadmill, and if you'll need exercise clothing, and if all of the food and water and spacesuits will be provided for you, on your ship. Packing to go to Death Valley National Park? It's different, of course, but clothing, and water, and snacks for the car are on many lists, making a terrestrial traveler feel as though they might be heading straight for the cosmos. And, when that traveler reaches the wide-open, see-for-miles landscape that is so famously warm, and low, and dry? It can, to be quite honest, seem like some outer planet rather than a place located on this planet. Which is wonderful, and mysterious, and unearthly as earthly locations come, or just about, if you think the DV is lunar and amazing and worthy of exploration (as it is). It's what a lot of space-loving sorts believe, and, each winter, they gather to hold a weekend-long festival called...

MARSFEST: Indeed, it is a weekend devoted to Mars-based thoughts, and ideas, and studies, but, unsurprisingly, holding the happening on the planet Mars isn't yet a possibility. Death Valley, though, provides a sublime and somewhat surreal setting for scientist meet-and-greets and fascinating demos and the viewing of the stars in the night sky and guided walks at Ubehebe Crater. Furnace Creek Visitor Center is one hub for the event, but so is the just-mentioned crater, and Badwater and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Artist Drives entrance. The partners on the annual look-up-in-wonder to-do? NASA: Ames Research Center, SETI, MSL/SAM Team, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Death Valley Natural History Association, so count on getting to know a bevy of sky-watching, desert-loving Mars mavens. "The goal of MarsFest is to offer the public the opportunity to learn more about our planet, Mars, the Solar System, and how that knowledge helps us plan for humans to explore beyond Earth. Death Valley National Park plays an important part in contributing to the scientific community," shares the site. 

JOIN THIS EXCITING EXPLORATION... from Feb. 23 through 25, 2018.

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