Welcome to The Mars Lab

The Mars Lab is a both a Mars Yard (a re-creation of the Martian surface) and a robotics lab established within Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Mars Lab education programs engage young people at high school in the search for life on Mars and the technologies which enable that search.


Watch the finalist entries and VOTE for your favourite video

Watch the 4 finalist videos in our Mars Lab Video Competition. The winning entry will be judged by our panel. However YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE VIDEO. The video with the most LIKES will win the People’s Choice Award. Competition closes 12 September 2014.



60 Minutes On Mars is a five lesson teacher-led unit of curriculum-linked science activities that provide an introduction to the search for evidence of life on Mars culminating with a teleoperation rover driving experience. Students investigate the main geological and astrobiological features of interest on the Martian surface and use this knowledge to carefully plan their rover mission.

Students control the rover from their classroomTeachers can follow the lessons step by step or choose to extend and vary the focus for their students as they develop a scientific goal for their Mars photographic mission.

Suitable for Years 7-10

View the 60MOM lesson materials


All Mars Lab education programs must be booked and schools must be registered to access some of the Mars Lab resources.

Register your school
Contact us to find out more

Photo on Mars

Come and get your photo taken on Mars!

As part of the Ultimo Science Festival family science weekend the Mars Lab is giving you the opportunity to get your photo taken by our robotic rover Mawson.

Find out more


What happens in Mars Lab education programs?

A short video made by PLC Melbourne Junior School of their student experience with the Mars Lab education program: Mars Mission 5.


Mars Mission 5 is a 2 part virtual excursion led by our Mars Lab team over video conferencing. MM5 introduces students to the robotic exploration of Mars and focusses on collaboration, planning, observation and scientific investigation. This education program involves students in a variety of experiences over VC and in their classrooms including discussions, mission planning, virtual rover driving and teleoperating our Mawson Rover in the Mars Yard. Suitable for Years 7-10 Find out more
Intro-To-Mars-Yard Introduction to the Mars Yard What is the Mars Yard? How was it built and how it is used by astrobiologists, engineers and high school students?


9.30 – 10.30 AM (EST)
Download event flyer

An “extraordinarily brilliant” Brisbane woman is now leading NASA’s search for life on Mars.

Sydney Morning Herald

Meet Australian NASA scientist Dr Abigail (Abby) Allwood — announced on August 1st as one of seven principal science investigators in NASA’s next mission to the red planet … the 2020 Mars mission.  Abby is the first woman and first Australian to be given the prestigious role.

Abby is a field geologist with a strong interest in the oldest record of life on Earth. Abby made her big break eight years ago while doing her PhD at Sydney’s Macquarie University when she proved that billion-year-old stromatolites (layered rock formations made by tiny microbes) in Western Australia’s Pilbara region held records of Earth’s oldest microbial life forms.  Abby thinks that the patterns of microbial life in the Pilbara could also have happened on Mars.

Based on this research, Abby designed a new technology known as PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) which analyses very small, grain-sized portions of rocks to look for traces of organic material.   Abby is now the Principal Investigator for PIXL which will be mounted on the robotic arm of the next Mars Rover in 2020 to examine the rocks on Mars and look evidence of early microbial life forms like the ones found in the Pilbara.

Abby will join us live from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to chat with young people and share her inspirational story as a young Australian who dreamt of working for NASA, the path that lead her to her incredible career and her exciting work on NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission.  This is a unique opportunity for your students to ask questions and discuss ideas with a home-grown NASA scientist.