Explore Mars: A Mars Rover Game

How to Play

Always wanted to cruise around on the surface of another planet? Well, you’re in luck! In Explore Mars, you will be driving a rover on Mars and collecting information about Martian rocks.

First, you will choose a rock to investigate. Then, you’ll send a sequence of commands telling the rover how to get to that rock. Don’t forget to include the command to analyze the rock! This information will then be sent back to scientists on Earth.

You will earn points every time you successfully analyze a new Martian rock. If you want a high score, plan carefully. Some rocks are worth many more points than others!

Charlene Pfeifer as the test conductor on the Juno mission to Jupiter.

The Voice of the Game

Charlene Pfeifer, NASA/JPL Systems Engineer

The encouraging voice guiding you in this game is from Charlene Pfeifer, an engineer who works on the real Mars 2020 mission. Learn more about Charlene and her work in this profile!

About the Perseverance Rover

Artist's concept depicting NASA's Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars.

This artist's concept depicts NASA's Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Perseverance is a rover that NASA landed on Mars in February 2021. The rover will cruise around investigating rocks in a region called Jezero Crater. A very long time ago, Jezero Crater contained a lake that was filled with liquid water — and possibly even living organisms.

Jezero Crater is the large crater in the middle of this image taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

An image of the western rim of Jezero Crater captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Perseverance rover will land in Jezero Crater. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

By studying the rocks in this crater today, scientists can learn what the environment on Mars was like billions of years ago. Certain kinds of rock in the crater could even hold evidence of past microbial life on Mars!

About Mars Helicopter

When you’re playing the game, you might notice a little helicopter joining you on your journey. The real Perseverance rover will have a helicopter friend, too! NASA’s solar-powered Mars Helicopter will be the first aircraft to fly on another planet.

The Mars helicopter is an experiment for NASA’s scientists and engineers. It will be a test to see if small aircraft can be used to do science on future Mars missions.

Artist concept shows the Mars Helicopter which will travel with NASA's Perseverance rover.

This artist's concept shows the Mars Helicopter, which will travel with NASA's Perseverance rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Related Resources for Educators

Mission to Mars Student Challenge

Make a Moon or Mars Rover Game

article last updated March 31, 2023
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