To support budding artists in their exploration of the Red Planet for our Student Art Competition, we have created this page of reference materials that can be used for inspiration.

Participants should feel free to investigate and find their own reference materials about Mars, its literature and lore by speaking with their teachers or librarians at their schools or in their communities.

Video: Interpreting the Mars Landscape – with JPL’s John Callas

John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created this video on interpreting the Martian landscape from available photography captured by previous Mars rovers. Mr.Callas was the Project Manager for the Mars Exploration Rover project from March 2006 to end of the project in September 2019, and he guided CAC artists in the creation of artwork for Mars: An Artistic Mission.

Reference Photography of Mars

Below are just a few of the publicly available images of Mars from the sites noted below. We encourage you to review the following links to discover more photos of the fourth planet from the Sun.

Links to Additional Mars Images:

NASA’s Photojournal:
This site has an extensive search function for identifying images of not only Mars, but also the entire universe.  In addition to searching on “Mars,” search on the following missions for the best images of the planet’s surface:

  • Mars Pathfinder (MPF)
  • Mars Exploration Rover (MER)
  • Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

Pancam Site:
The Pancam is a high-resolution stereo camera that took color pictures of the Martian landscape from the Mars Exploration Rovers.


Additional Links on Mars and Space Exploration

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Exploration Program

NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration

Questions about the Student Art Contest

If you have any questions about this exhibition, please email