South Downs Planetarium

& Science Centre

Is There Life on Mars?

A photograph of The Star Dome Theatre.

Is There Life on Mars?

Sunday 27th December, 3:30pm

Limited Seating During Coronavirus

Audience numbers limited due to Social Distancing requirements. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before advertised showtime because it now takes longer to load the auditorium.

A photograph of The Mars Rover on Mars.

Image: Courtesy of NASA


About This Show

Mars is a lovely sight, shining more than twice as brightly as Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, and its disk has swollen large enough that even backyard telescopes can reveal surface details. No telescope? No problem. The reddish hue of Mars is easy to see with the unaided eye. Simply step outside between late evening and dawn, and look south-east. You can't miss it!

Spacecraft have shown us a bitterly cold, dry planet, with huge volcanoes, vast canyons, craters and ancient river valleys. Far from being a world where nothing ever happens, Mars has landslides, whirlwinds and great dust storms.

Tough organic molecules of carbon and sulphur as well as other molecules have been found in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface of Mars. Also seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere may indicate ancient life origin, but there are other explanations which need to be eliminated by future missions before their origin can be determined with any certainty.

"Are there signs of life on Mars?" said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, at NASA Headquarters. "We don't know, but these results tell us we are on the right track."

But long, long ago, Mars was very different. It was warmer and wetter, and water flowed on the surface; there were rivers, lakes, floods and even small seas. Under these conditions, did any form of microbial life try to gain a foothold on the Red Planet? Was there ever life on Mars? Come to the Planetarium to find out…

An Information Logo.

Important Information

  • Admission: Adults £7:00. Children 6 to 16 years £5:00.
  • Not Suitable for children under 6 years of age.
  • Duration 60min Approx
  • Opening Times: 45 minutes before the show.
  • Two large FREE car parks available.

patrons should aim to arrive no later than 15 minutes before the published start time of the show.


To ensure that you have the best possible experience, please inform us in advance about any disability needs for assistance or special requirements. More about Accessibility here

Coronavirus Information:

mask Face masks must be worn at all times in the Planetarium. If you are in an exempt category we ask you to wear a face shield whilst in the planetarium. Children under 11ys are not required to wear a face covering, but can if they wish. Under the Government guidelines groups of people attending must be 6 or fewer in number.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, waiting for a test, or have tested as positive, do not attend the planetarium - we can either refund or reschedule your booking. If you are unsure about any of the above arrangements, please ring us on 01243 774400 to discuss.

Please read our Coronavirus information below


cancellations must be received at least 24 hours before the booked show date and time in order to receive a refund or make an alternative booking


During the Coronavirus pandemic, by making a booking, you as ticket holders agree to comply with the safetymeasures set out in the 'Our Response to Coronavirus document'

The video below explains the measures we have taken to make the Planetarium ‘COVID-Secure’.