MSL Rocks!

Mars Cities

Mars Cities is part of the “Get Curious” campaign raising awareness around the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), aka “Curiosity,” landing on Mars. Select U.S. cities agreed to support the campaign and be a “Mars City.” Each city hosted a very large red boulder that resembled a Mars rock. These Mars rocks were placed in a public location for all to see between July 26 and August 9, 2012.

The rocks were designed to pique the public’s curiosity and motivate all of us to learn about the Curiosity landing and its findings on Mars. Go MSL!

Many of our Mars Cities also had landing parties celebrating the touchdown of Curiosity on Mars. Visit the Landing Parties page, to find out more.

Find out if your city was a Mars City! Look below for more information and photos of the Mars rocks! To see pictures people posted of the rocks, visit the Explore Mars Facebook page.

Photo Gallery

The Cities

  • Atlanta

    Eight Mars rocks were scattered in eight cities across the United States. Students, faculty and visitors could find one rock in Atlanta, Ga., on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. Thanks to the Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, Atlanta is now a Mars City. As the largest school of its kind in the U.S., the aerospace engineering program at Georgia Tech was a natural location to exhibit a “Mars rock” on one of its main thorough fares. Some of the school’s faculty and alumni were instrumental in the design, fabrication and deployment of the original Mars Science Laboratory rover.

    July 27 to August 9

    266 Fourth Street NW
    Atlanta, GA 30318

  • Columbus

    Another Mars rock can still be found in downtown Columbus, Ohio, in front of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) through the month of August. COSI is a museum promoting science literacy by providing engaging learning experiences for visitors. Through fun, hands-on discovery, COSI’s traveling exhibits and electronic and traveling outreach programs serve individuals across Ohio, the nation and globe. Today COSI continues building such partnerships, like that with, to promote scientific discovery and future exploration.

    July 26 to August 31

    333 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH 43215

  • Detroit

    Those that walked, ran or rolled down the 5.5 miles of riverfront in Detroit, Mich., might have stumbled across another Mars rock, located on Rivard Plaza. The non-profit Detroit River Front Conservancy was formed as a public-private partnership in 2003 with the mission to develop public access on the Detroit Riverfront and serve as an anchor for economic development. By becoming a partner in this important initiative and helping Detroit become a Mars City, the Conservancy hopes to further educate children and families on the intricate wonders of space and space exploration, and at the same time, encourage them to spend time together along the beautiful Detroit Riverfront.

    July 26 to August 9

    1340 East Atwater St.
    Detroit, MI 48207

  • Houston

    Located at Hermann Square in front of City Hal|, a Mars rock landed in Houston, TX. Home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston has a long legacy of aerospace exploration, earning it the moniker “Space City.” Houston has been the main flight-control center for all U.S. manned space-exploration missions since 1963 and was instrumental in the successful spaceflight of Apollo 11, which completed the first lunar landing in history. Johnson Space Center will be hosting their own viewing party on August 5th.

    July 26 to August 9

    900 Smith Street
    Houston, TX 77002

  • Indianapolis

    Another rock was located in the 12th largest city in the United States, Indianapolis. Indiana’s capital is located in the Great Lakes and is home to more than 800,000 Hoosiers, the state’s demonym for its residents. Residents and visitors alike were able to find the Mars rock downtown in front of the Indianapolis-Marion County Building. Indianapolis is home to the largest children’s museum in the world, one of the city’s main attractions, the Indianapolis 500 race track, the Pacers and the Colts.

    July 27 to August 9

    200 E. Market St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • Boston

    Boston residents and visitors can also find one of the rocks in the lobby of the Museum of Science until August 22, 2012. Spanning the Charles River Basin, the Museum has inspired young minds and provided new and exciting exhibits for more than five decades. It aims to play a leading role in transforming the nation’s relationship with science and technology. By hosting a Mars rock, the Museum can help raise awareness for the Mars landing and continue to promote the importance and impact of science and engineering.

    July 26 to August 22

    1 Science Park
    Boston, MA 02114

  • Austin

    Austinites and other Central Texas residents were able to see their Mars rock by venturing to downtown Austin. Located in front of City Hall, visitors to the state capital’s 2nd Street District – “where Texas warmth meets Austin cool” – can snap a photo with the rock and then catch a show at Austin City Limits Live. Austin will soon have its own planetarium, and the founders of the non-profit making it happen are hosting a huge Landing Party for Curiosity – learn more at

    July 26 to August 8

    301 W. 2nd St.
    Austin, TX 78701

  • Orlando

    Passersby traveling in Orlando near the busy intersection of South Orange Avenue and West South Street might have gotten a glimpse of another rock in front of City Hall. Ranked fourth on Forbes magazine’s list of “Most Wired Cities,” Orlando is not only home to world-famous Walt Disney World Resort but also to many great museums, art galleries and entertainment venues, including the new Amway Center. In its vibrant downtown, Orlando has enticing restaurants, endless shopping and an exciting nightlife.

    July 29 to August 7

    400 S. Orange Ave.
    Orlando, FL 32801

Daily Briefing

  • Chris Carberry: One Year of Curiosity - Are We Any Closer to Sending Humans to Mars?...

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  • Read the results of a national opinion poll about human and robotic exploration of Mars....

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  • Learn about the Humans to Mars Summit and watch the live webcast on May 6-8, 2013!...

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  • Has Curiosity found clues to life's building blocks on Mars?...

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  • As we all expected one of the Mars satellites imaged the area where Curiosity landed in greater detail...

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  • Bill Nye’s reaction to the Rover’s landing as he watches it from PlanetFest in California...

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  • Christopher Carberry, head of a Beverly-based nonprofit organization pushing for human exploration of Mars by 2030, was in Pasadena, CA...

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  • It's time for NASA to set its sight on sending a human to the red planet...

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  • Jeff Horwich interviewing Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars, on his thoughts on the future of Mars expeditions...

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  • 'Landing Parties “See we’re not all geeks” '...

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  • Image of descending Curiosity by HiRISE on MRO

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  • T-0 Days: Landing - Today is the day! Will the landing be successful? Go Curiosity!...

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  • Chris Carberry blog in Huffington Post: "Humans on Mars by 2030 can and should be our next goal."...

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  • T-1 Days: Entry, Descent and Landing ...

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  • T-2 Days: Navigation - Each rover we send to Mars is more autonomous in its navigation than the previous rovers...

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  • Explore Mars' Chris Carberry spoke on NPR's Morning Edition about excitement around Curiosity's landing...

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  • Forbes' Alex Knapp on the upcoming landing of the Mars Probe Curiosity...

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  • T-3 Days: Communications and its importance on the 23 month mission. Without communications no mission; it is a simple as that...

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  • T-4 Days: Analysis of the Curiosity rover wheels and the necessary power to allow the rover to travel across the rough Mars terrain...

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  • T-5 Days: New possibilities of a more hospitable Martian past have emerged...

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  • NPR's Diane Rehm: The U.S. Mission To Mars. Get Curious at 45:20!...

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  • "Mars Rock" lands at Houston City Hall...

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  • The Martian Invasion starts with "7 Minutes of Terror" Aug 5 2012 at Space Center Houston Landing Party...

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  • We could not drive large distances with the first mars rover; scientists named the first rock Sojourner visited “Yogi.”...

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  • Landing in 1997, a bouncing method of airbags was used to land Mars Pathfinder after having been slowed with a parachute. ...

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  • Humans on Mars by 2030! Join Explore Mars and the George Washington Univ. Space Policy Institute at the 2013 Humans to Mars Summit ...

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  • We are not living in ordinary times, and the stakes have never been higher for a Mars landing ......

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  • That’s a long tail! The giant dust-evil plume shown in this late-springtime photo of the Martian landscape of Amazonis Planitia is 1.5 mile high. ...

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National Geographic

In National Geographic’s e-short book ‘Mars Landing 2012,’ written by Washington Post science correspondent Marc Kaufman and published just as the suspense builds, with Curiosity hurtling toward Mars, space science readers

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Pre-Landing Poll

  • Polls

    • Did you attend the Humans to Mars Summit (H2M)?

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