Earth to Mars: Happy New Year!

That's the sentiment being offered this weekend in Mars, Pennsylvania, as NASA and other space enthusiasts gather to honor the red planet.

The Martian New Year occurs about every two Earth-years. On Friday and Saturday, NASA will sponsor exhibits and activities in the borough of Mars, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The agency hopes to encourage young people to study science and technology fields that will further NASA's goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

Mars on Earth has a population of about 1,700 and a sculpture of a flying saucer in the heart of town. Its festival includes a science fiction costume contest.

The next celebration is scheduled for May 5, 2017.

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www.marsnewyear.com