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Welcome, kids, students, and the young at heart!

It's not often that you see a cutting-edge science mission like NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers project in which key roles and responsibilities are filled by scientists, researchers and engineers, some in their first job out of college, many in the 20s and 30s. If you're in middle school, or high school, and you think this looks cool, this really could be you in a short 10 or 15 years. We hope you catch the rover team's excitement in P2K's TV programs, and in their BIOgraphies and INTERVIEWS. This project, "To MARS with MER" tries to put a human face on this mission, and it's a young face. Also check out Marsapalooza and the M-Team, an innovative national tour featuring 3 scientists and 3 engineers, 3 male and 3 female, who went on the road in December 2003 to spread information and inspiration about the rover mission in the exciting last month before landing!

None of the MER team think of work as just a "9 to 5" job: if they had done, the twin rovers would never have made it to the launch pad. As you can read in their personal accounts (see Jennifer Trosper), they don't mind the time spent solving problems, brainstorming solutions to issues no-one has ever had to solve before. In fact, they love the challenge. One of them said it was as satisfying as "extreme sports." We hope you'll use this site and the Internet to make contact with the MER-men and -women for yourself. If you've a question during one of the broadcast programs, send it via ON-AIR.

By the way, the young people you see on this page are students at John Dewey High School in New York, Griffin Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles, and visitors to the "Destination Mars" traveling exhibit at the Discovery Science Center in Fort Collins, CO. They were able to get some of their questions answered during the May 1 special, COUNTDOWN TO MARS. See ON-AIR FAQ for all the questions and answers.

But MER is not all work, nor is this website. Click here to find Slider Puzzles and Concentration games. If you want to boost your vocabulary, try the interactive Word Searches. When you find the hidden word, you get the definition (so you can tell your Mom or Dad you're doing "homework" when you're having fun.)

We hope you enjoy following the Mars Exploration Rovers all the way to the Red Planet and on through months of surface operations. Just before launch the "MER" rovers were given individual names, Spirit and Opportunity, suggested by an 11-year old immigrant girl, born in Siberia! So, in a very real sense, this is your mission too, the young people who will build and fly the spacecraft of the future. If you've suggestions about things you'd like to see, use Contact Us. We've got our finger's crossed, but as the team at JPL say, you have to work hard to make your luck. So, come fly with Spirit and Opportunity.

Onwards and Upwards,
Geoff Haines-Stiles, Project Director
Eileen Bendixsen, Online Moderator and webmaster
Erna Akuginow, Executive in Charge