About ROADS on Mars

The ROADS on Mars challenge gives teams of students grades 3–12 a chance to tackle a mission to Mars, following in the path of the next rover — Mars 2020. Just like the next rover, teams will face challenges including engineering and programming, analysis of biological signatures and geologic features, not to mention flying to Mars and successfully landing.

You can use ROADS on Mars with your students in three ways:

  • Academic year 2019-2020 challenge — Students form a team, register with NESSP, and complete the challenge during the academic year. Top teams from across the country will win a trip to Kennedy Space Center for the launch of Mars 2020!
  • Summer 2020 challenge — Students form a team, register with NESSP, and complete the challenge during the summer of 2020. Prizes for the summer challenge will be announced.
  • Hands-on curriculum activity — Educators can incorporate the ROADS challenge as a hands-on module in their curriculum. Download the manual and use as much or as little to engage your students as the next generation of Martian experts!

More details:

The 2019–2020 challenge

Top teams

NESSP is pleased to announce the following four teams who achieved top prizes. All teams received trophies commemorating their achievements as well as official NASA certificates. We invite you to share our excitement by watching the official version of the ROADS on Mars final awards ceremony. Top Teams Ares Bobcats A Curiosity Division (high school) …


Are you a team participating in the ROADS on Mars challenge in 2019-2020? This page will help you submit your social media mini-challenge to NESSP as well as provide resources that may be useful as you navigate the challenge.


Hubs both in-person and virtual create a network of regional challenges across the continental United States. Most regional challenge hubs will hold their final event in spring 2020. A few hubs are running the ROADS Challenge as a summer program to coincide with the launch of Mars 2020.

ROADS calendar

The ROADS on Mars challenge offers a full academic year of activities and virtual events.

Upcoming ROADS on Mars events