WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five NASA centers around the United States will host events and activities Monday, Nov. 18, for the public to view the launch of the agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft and learn about its mission.
MAVEN, which is set to launch at 1:28 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet's history.
Here is a schedule of events at NASA facilities in Washington, Maryland, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia:
(All times Eastern)
11 a.m. -- NASA's Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, Miss.: The INFINITY Science Center located on I-10 Exit 2, will host a live viewing of the launch, science project discussions with featured speakers, conduct a parachute design and launch demonstration and a Mars habitat competition. Visitors also may have their photographs taken on a simulated Martian surface. For more information, call 228-533-9025, ext. 311.
Noon -- NASA Headquarters, Washington: Launch coverage will be available in the James Webb Auditorium at 300 E St. SW. Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Md., will discuss Mars exploration plans and answer questions from the public. MAVEN materials and other handouts will be available.
Noon -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will host a pre-launch panel discussion with representatives from the Marshall Center titled "Deep Space Exploration: Mars and Beyond." There will also be educational activities for children. The event will be held in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Davidson Center Digital Theater located at One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Ala., 35805. The event is open to the public and there will be signs directing the public where to park. The launch will be shown live in the theater at 1:28 p.m. For more information, contact Shannon Ridinger at 256-544-3774.
1 p.m. -- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.: Goddard's Visitors Center auditorium located off ICESat Road (formerly Soil Conservation Road) will show the launch and have available a planetary scientist to answer visitors' questions. For more information, contact the Goddard newsroom at 301-286-8955.
1 p.m. -- NASA's Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility, 5000 NASA Blvd. 5th Floor, Fairmont, W.Va: Events will include educational activities for students and educators before and after launch coverage. Take either elevator to the 5th floor. Media should use the South entrance. For more information contact Jennifer Neptune at: 304-367-8262.
For more details on MAVEN launch and mission activities, visit: