Review of 'Moving to Mars'

I was unsure how an exhibit entitled “Moving to Mars” was related to the “Design Museum” ethos but now having seen the exhibition I think it is quite obvious - There are many aspects of design in the idea of moving to Mars from the planning of habitation to the Mars films that inspire us. This is an exhibit that is full of ideas along with great hands-on activities and information that will, indeed, inspire. At £14.50 (full price weekday ticket; £16.30 for weekends) it is a surprisingly good value and will be of interest to anyone fascinated by the red planet.

Before we even entered the exhibit the lobby featured a Mars rover slowly making it's way around a red-carpeted area with the occasional rock to crawl over (or crush). It was amazing to see something like this in such close quarters and it did attract a lot of attention.


The exhibit is divided into separate rooms beginning with how humanity began to understand outer space then Mars itself.

Mars Film Posters

This section includes a number of historic artefacts that were worth having a close look at as well as clips from old films featuring the planet.

Views of Mars

The next room “On Mars Today” features a stunning panoramic display of images from the “Curiosity Rover” that has been wandering the surface of Mars for quite some number of years now. You have the option of sitting on a surface that supposedly mimics the texture and density of the planet. This is well worth a few minutes taking in the bleak yet captivating landscape.

The Voyage

The next section, entitled “The Voyage” talks about the trip to Mars itself with some amazing video from SpaceX of it's launch and return-to-earth rockets. Here there is also a spacecraft play area that children can enter and do make some art…

Living on Mars

The following room contains information about some of the realities of living on Mars including spacesuits and food that astronauts currently eat. A wall with videos of astronauts in space explaining about some of the more mundane aspects of space is well worth a watch. Yes, these videos includeshow to use the toilet but it also talks about how they sleep and what exactly they get up to while there.

Space Habitats

The largest room in the exhibit focuses on the designs for habitats in space. A number of scale models and videos really bring this to life.


There is also a hydroponics demonstration that shows how food could be grown on Mars along with a display about how to use fungus as a viable source of nutrition.


At the end of the room is an amazing recreation of a Mars habitat with 3D printed furnishings and clothing. You are able to interact with the exhibit which really brings it to life. I found the lounger particularly (and surprisingly) comfortable.


Next in the exhibit is another immersive video experience featuring an animation of what it would be like during launch for an astronaut.

Mars Life

In the final corridor an interesting exhibit by an artist showing video of how native life forms may evolve on the planet along with pictures of the computer-evolved plants.


Finally a wall shows videos of famous individuals (including UK astronaut Tim Peake) talking about Mars and how important it is to mankind to visit. The opposite wall encourages those attending the exhibit to express their opinion about the priority they feel of travelling to the distant planet (“concentrate on solving problems here on earth first”, etc).

Generally, a really interesting exhibition with lots of information…but not too much…with the focus very much on the visual with a good amount of interactivity to keep young, though not REALLY young, visitors happy. The material was interestingly presented and I can't really think of anything they have left out from the subject. Really well done and, actually, a lot of fun too.

I visited just after the exhibit opened on a Sunday so it was quite busy in places so it might be good to try to visit outside of busy periods so you can take in the entire experience. Allowing 2-3 hours I would say is a good idea to really appreciate “Moving to Mars”.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-10-20

The Design Museum

Location: London (England)

Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE High Street Kensington

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3862 5937


A wonderful modern new building on the south side of Holland Park with free permanent exhibits and paid exhibitions. The building itself is an exhibit with it's clean lines and unusual shapes.

As far as facilities, there are two interesting gift shops (one in a separate building just off Kensington High Street). There is also a small cafe in the main building that is often very crowded and has free water available.