Life on Mars (Upper KS2, KS3, KS4)

Program a LEGO rover through our Mars landscape and look for chemical signs of life in Mars soil samples back in the laboratory.

  • Two girls constructing a device in a lab session.

    Build your own Mars rover.

    Credit: Tim Mitchell
  • Computer generated image of Mars

    The red planet. 

    Credit: Kevin Gill, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


  • Upper Key Stage 2

  • Key Stage 3

  • Key Stage 4


This workshop is designed for students between the ages of 11 and 16 years old, and lasts for around four hours including a 30 – 40 minute break for lunch (not provided).

The maximum group size is 24. Actual group sizes depend on age and circumstance, for more info contact the team at

In this workshop students will get the chance to be astro-scientists for the day. After learning to program a LEGO Mindstorm Mars rover, they are challenged to direct their rover across a Martian landscape and recognise a specific site to drill for soil samples. Back in the lab students explore possible signs of life and analyse simulated Martian soil samples using a variety of chemical tests.

We can also run a shortened version of this workshop in which the students do a slightly extended version of the programming but do not perform the chemical analysis.

This workshop was developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the UCLan and Ri YSC in Preston.

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