About The Mars Lab

The Mars Lab is a research collaboration between the University of NSW (The Australian Centre for Astrobiology), the University of Sydney (The Australian Centre for Field Robotics) and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum). Working alongside these research collaborators are leading teachers and hundreds of enquiring young minds from connected schools across the country. Development of the Mars Lab was funded by The Australian Government as part of the Broadband Enabled Education and Skills Services Program.

The Mars Lab is a Mars Yard, or re-creation of the Martian surface, and robotics lab established within Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. It engages high school students in the search for life on Mars, and the technologies which enable that search.

A core feature of the Mars Lab is the development and testing of rovers on the Mars Yard for astrobiological research. Students undertake scientific missions and experiments in-line with the Australian Curriculum. The rovers themselves, as well as a range of sophisticated on-board instruments, are operated remotely via the National Broadband Network from within the school classroom or “Mission Control Room”.

Spanning all areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), these real world science experiences, along with the live interactions between young people, scientists and engineers, represent a platform upon which students develop understandings, pose their own questions and drive their own learning.

Mars Lab education programs were developed and piloted in conjunction with teachers and students from four Australian schools:

  • Scottsdale High School (Years 7-10) and community, Scottsdale, Tasmania.
  • Willunga High School (Year 10) and community, Willunga, South Australia.
  • Armidale PLC High School (Years 7-10), Armidale, NSW.
  • Duval High School (Years 8-11), Armidale, NSW.