4-H STEM Challenge - Mars Base Camp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel to Mars? The 2020 4-H STEM Challenge explores the science behind sending a mission to Mars. Here in New Hampshire, we’re going to kick things off with a live event and Mars viewing with the Sky Guy, John Gianforte, who will broadcast live from the UNH observatory, sharing images from his telescope, fun facts about Mars and some video of what the landing of the Curiosity Rover looked like. Then, with a 4-H Mars Base Camp kit, you can participate in fun activities to learn more about the planet Mars and what it takes to travel to the Red Planet.

Order your 4-H Mars Base Camp Kit

To get the most of your 4-H Mars Base Camp experience you will need to order an activity kit from 4-H. There are Family Kits ($15.95), perfect for any 4-H family or homeschool project, or Educator Kits ($23.95), for a small 4-H club or afterschool program. Order your kit as soon as possible, as it takes 2-3 weeks to ship.

Order my 4-H Mars Base Camp Kit 

View the recording of our Mars Event from October 21

4-H and the Sky Guy, John Gianforte, livestreamed a viewing of Mars with the UNH Observatory telescope on Wednesday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. John shared images of Mars from his telescope, tips on viewing Mars at home and some of the fascinating history of Mars exploration.

The recoding can be accessed via Facebook on the UNH Observatory page.

Girl building car and Mars Base Camp text

Complete the 4-H STEM Challenge Mars Base Camp Activities

You can participate in the 4-H Mars Base Camp STEM Challenge a number of ways. There are four activities outlined in the Mars Base Camp activity guide that you can do with a 4-H Club, family or group.  Order my 4-H Mars Base Camp kit.  

Activity 1 – Landing Zone Surveyor

Learn about the surface of Mars and the features discovered through NASA’s exploration of Mars. Mars is covered with craters, mountains, channels, canyons and more which make it an interesting and difficult place to explore. This activity lets you explore landing on Mars and observing its surface.

For a look at the challenges that NASA faced when trying to land the Curiosity Rover on Mars, watch “7 Minutes of Terror.

Activity 2 – Red Planet Odyssey

Design and build a model rover to “explore the Mars Landscape.” Each Mars Base Camp Kit comes with materials to build a model rover, which you can adapt and modify with materials of your own.  Then build an obstacle course to simulate the Mars landscape and help your rover navigate it.

To see what the surface of Mars looks like, check out the Access Mars WebVR Experiment for a 360 degree view of the Martian landscape as photographed by the Curiosity rover.

Activity 3 – Crop Curiosity

Explore what it might look like to grow crops on Mars as part of a space station with this fun card game. Collect component cards needed to build a functioning greenhouse module to grow crops for a Mars space station.

To use hydroponics to grow some microgreens at home, check out our mini hydroponics activity.

Activity 4 – Insight from Mars

Report back to Earth and tell a story about something you learned on Mars using Scratch. Scratch is a block-based coding program that allows you to create animated stories to share with others.

Go to the Insight from Mars Activity Page to get started.

Share the Excitement

Share your pictures and comments of your Mars Base Camp experience on social media with #4HSTEM.

Click to learn more about the 4-H STEM Challenge Mars Base Camp

Join The Challenge!


Extension Field Specialist - Science Literacy
Extension Field Specialist, 4-H Science Education
Phone: (603) 447-3834
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824

Director, UNH Observatory, Extension Associate Professor/Space Science Education/Youth & Family State Specialist
Associate State Specialist Professor, Space Science Ed
Phone: (603) 862-2829
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Demeritt Hall, 227, Durham, NH 03824