• Exploration
  • Mars

The Martian Ground – The Rovers Take the Stage!

Published on 19 October 2022

Nouveau Terrain Martien

The Cité de l’espace present The Martian Ground and it's animation "The Rovers Take the Stage!" to understand the current exploraiton of Mars.

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The leading site in Europe for dissemination of space and astronomical culture to the general public, Cité de l’espace is strengthening its position with a new permanent facility unique in Europe, designed in partnership with CNES: the Martian Ground. In connection with current space news, Cité de l’espace regularly offers new immersive events to allow visitors to discover and understand the major issues in space exploration. The planet MARS is therefore at the heart of this new lively place where the public will discover life-size mobile replicas of the rovers Perseverance (NASA-United States) and Zhurong (CNSA-China) which are currently operating on the red planet looking for traces of past life.

Peserverance et Zhurong

The rovers on the Martian ground of the Cité de l’espace

A new permanent equipment

Cité de l’espace and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) present The Martian Ground – The Rovers Take the Stage! In the shape of a 900 M2 crater where the red planet’s special soil and rocks are faithfully reproduced, this new scientific mediation area highlights the most explored planet in the solar system: MARS.

Supported by CNES, this facility was designed and developed in collaboration with the scientific experts of the French space agency and the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP), to reproduce to the full a Martian landscape which is as realistic as possible (colours, textures, reliefs, etc.).


In the centre of an amphitheatre which can accommodate up to 218 visitors at the same time, robotic Martian exploration take the stage on Martian Ground –presented by Cité de l’espace’s scientific presenters in the shape of a daily presentation of 25 minutes.

A scientific animation closer to the reality of the martian exploration 

A scientific presentation up close to the reality of Martian exploration, Martian Ground was designed for all audiences. It is accessible for those with four disabilities (auditory, mental, mobility and visual). Thus, at the heart of the central area of the Martian crater, life-size and completely automated models of the Perseverance (NASA – United States) and Zhurong (CNSA – China) rovers – both currently exploring the planet Mars – are activated by Cité de l’espace’s scientific presenters to show in an authentic way how they move on the red planet and the missions they are carrying out.

Bras de Perseverance

The robotic arm of the Rover Perseverance

Opening on April 5, 2022

From 5 April 2022 visitors discover the specific features of the two rovers such as the energy with which they operate (solar panels or nuclear battery), their mobility as well as how they are piloted from Earth and the purposes of the instruments with which they are equipped, such as the laser camera, SuperCam, designed and operated by CNES and IRAP, the research laboratory in Toulouse.

The first and only Martian flying vehicle, Ingenuity is also involved. Thanks to a life-size model, visitors discover this small helicopter designed exclusively to fly in the thin Martian atmosphere during the Mars2020 mission (Perseverance).


The final scene showcases the “family” of Martian rovers from Sojourner (NASA’s first rover to land on MARS in 1997), via Perseverance and Zhurong. The “family of rovers” will be added to as new Martian explorations progress.

This immersive presentation invites the public to wonder about the future of exploration of MARS: first of all bringing back samples from MARS to Earth, then in the longer term, future human Martian missions. This complements the various facilities installed at Cité de l’espace to find out about the red planet: the “Mars Lab” presentation and a genuine Martian meteorite on display in a MARS area in the permanent exhibitions.

This new facility was produced by Cité de l’espace in partnership with CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), with the support of the Comat company and Région Occitanie and in collaboration with IRAP.