Hardin Planetarium offering free shows on NASA’s newest Mars rover

Hardin Planetarium on Western Kentucky University’s campus at night.

Henri Aboah

The Hardin Planetarium is featuring a new show, Perseverance to Reach Mars, until February 18th.  

The 45 minute interactive show features a virtual landing of Perseverance Rover on Mars if the mission is successful.

Chris Chandler, responsible for the operations of the Hardin Planetarium, said the show is focused on three questions: why rocket scientists fly missions to Mars as often as they do, what makes the Perseverance mission special, and why a mission to Mars is such a challenge.

“This mission includes something completely new: a helicopter. We have been flying to other worlds for 60 years, and if this landing succeeds, we will have our first flight on another world,” he said.

According to the planetarium webpage, Perseverance’s goal is to find “signs of ancient microbial life” and “environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.”

According to Chandler, the Hardin Planetarium opted to create the “Perseverance to Reach Mars” show to prepare audiences for the February 18th scheduled landing of the rover over.

“Teaching the public about space science is an awesome responsibility and a joy,” Chandler said.

The planetarium offers free public shows every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Masks are required to enter.

You can learn more about NASA’s Perseverance rover here.