That said, the movie is awesome. It's short - only 40 minutes - but fantastic. About 10 minutes in, one of my students leaned over to me and whispered, "It's like being in the lab!" It is. It's narrated by the lead scientist on the mission, who does an excellent job of explaining what's going on, some of the challenges and joys of engineering and discovery, without dumbing it down. I think it's one of the best advertisements for being a scientist or engineer that I've seen recently. Plus, Spirit and Opportunity, the two rovers, become life-like as we see them being built, tested, and doing their thing, landing with a series of bounces, unfolding their wheels and arms, scanning the landscape and making decisions about how to navigate, boring into a rock to see beneath the weathered surface. These robots are ingenious and adorable.
Many of the kids liked it and had questions following. Several expressed an interest in becoming astronauts or working on robots.
(At least) one child had never been on the subway before this trip.