Join us Thursday, April 8, at 7 pm PT for a free NightSchool livestream!

Mars is hot right now, despite its sub-freezing temperatures. With multiple countries sending spacecraft to the Red Planet this year, we’ll take a look at missions past and future, their breakthroughs and challenges, and what we hope to find when we get there.


  • You’ve now heard what Martian wind sounds like, and that’s thanks in part to Jason Achilles, rock musician and NASA researcher. In 2016, Jason approached NASA/JPL to offer assistance in helping evaluate and ultimately select the flight hardware for a microphone that would be incorporated onboard the Mars Perseverance rover. This microphone was one of two that flew on board, and ultimately captured those first sounds of the Martian wind, which the world heard in February.
  • For more than 50 years, humans have been sending robot explorers to Mars, hoping to learn as much as we can about this red and dusty planet. But our successes have mostly been very recent. Morrison Planetarium’s Mary Holt answers some of your Mars FAQs, like: What was it like before the current golden age of Mars exploration? And why is Mars a location we keep returning to?
  • The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is the first power-controlled aircraft to attempt flight on another planet. Dorsa Shirazi, Aerospace Engineer, and Winnie Kuang, Mechanical Engineer, were both interns at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley when Ingenuity was in development. Learn about exactly what Ingenuity is testing on Mars, how it was designed and tested, and the work they’re already doing on Ingenuity’s successor, the Mars Science Helicopter.
  • NASA’s Dr. Vandi Verma has been driving Mars rovers since 2008 and has deployed robots in the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Atacama Desert. As the Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover, she’ll talk about the robotics and autonomous capabilities involved, how her team drives the rover and operates the robotic arm, sampling system, and flight software.

All NightLife virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+. 



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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Upcoming ticketed museum events

May 13th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 40,000 live animals. For adults 21+.

May 27th at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy. For adults 21+.

June 10th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different.

Upcoming free virtual events

May 13th at 7:00 pm

Explore the tropical rainforests of the world with a session dedicated to these iconic and important ecosystems.

May 20th at 7:00 pm

Learn about bird breeding season and how scientists monitor the health of CA songbird populations.

May 27th at 7:00 pm

Get a better understanding of shark physiology and peer into some jaws and maws.