The Mars New Year Celebration is a collaboration with Mars Borough, Pennsylvania, NASA centers, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.  The festival coincides with the planet Mars’ New Year, which occurs every 687 Earth days and will highlight NASA’s plans for future missions to send humans to the planet Mars. It is a NASA inspired educational festival.

           The three-day event is designed to influence school-aged children on the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). As part of the festival, students in grades nine through twelve are invited to participate in the “Meet the MARS Challenge!” Currently, NASA is developing the capabilities to send humans to Mars in the 2030’s; the “Meet the MARS Challenge!” is a STEAM challenge that gives any high school student, including homeschoolers, the opportunity to identify and solve the future problems that humans may encounter as the planet is being colonized. Students set up their projects much like a science fair. First, second and third place winners will receive Continuing Education Gifts of up to $12,000.  Students can register for the Challenge until March 1.

          The Blast-Off Dinner kicks off the Mars New Year Celebration on Thursday, May 4 at Twelve Oaks Mansion. Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 festivities include a sci-fi costume contest, kids’ activities, exhibits and demonstrations by prestigious scientists, engineers and educators from NASA, PITT Mobile Science Lab and Carnegie Science Center.

         Sponsors include: NASA, Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, Mars National Bank, WTAE-TV, Austin’s, Armstrong, Tepco, Mars Home for Youth, Butler County Community College, Lope & Casker Law Firm, BASF The Chemical Company, Mars Area School District, Mars Area History & Landmarks Society, Butler Area Society of Homebrewers, Rich-Mar Rotary, Mars Area Business Association, Williams Printing and Mars Kiwanis.

         For information on the events and the “Meet the MARS Challenge!” visit