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Marco Polo Events

Stage 2 –

Life on mars?

Stage Instructions

Stage Open – 00:01 Saturday 29th August

Stage Close – 18:00 Saturday 12th September

“The first wealth is health” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Team Requirements:

  • Continue to exercise and solve the puzzles to reach the combined 375,000 litres we need. When we reach Mars, each team’s existing rocket fuel will be converted into the equivalent battery power measured in Kilo Joules (KJ) which will help power your Rover. (Once Stage 2 starts, your efforts will be recorded as KJs.)
  • Submit final puzzle entries for Stage 1 Space Quests, any entries submitted after 00:00 on Saturday will not be marked.
  • Plot your team’s Rover Route on the Mars Route Template, which has been supplied via email. Teams must submit their planned route to visit Clue Points (CPs) into MPE HQ ( no later than 23:59 on Saturday, August 29th.

Plotting your Mars Rover Route:

Your route should be determined by your strategy. With 7 Clue Points (CP), there are a multitude of routes that can be chosen. Some CP’s cost more KJs to get to than others, this is because the clues available at these points are considered of higher value for solving the puzzle of whether there is “Life on Mars?”. Once you have submitted your route to (before 23:59 on Saturday, 29th August), the MPE Team HQ will deduct the KJs from your team total.
NOTE: The Rover Route that you submit must include all of the CP points. MPE HQ will deduct your route’s KJ total from your average KJ per teammate, not from the team total. For any team that fails to meet the 00:00 deadline, they will be automatically given the most expensive route.


Teams arrive at their CPs in the order submitted and will be supplied with a PIN by email ( to access that specific clue. The new PIN will be sent as follows (12:00-13:00):-

Clue 1      Sunday 30th August

Clue 2      Tuesday 1st September

Clue 3      Thursday 3rd September

Clue 4      Saturday 5th September

Clue 5      Monday 7th September

Clue 6      Wednesday 9th September

Clue 7      Friday 11th September

Teams may at any point visit Acidalia Planitia (AP) to submit their believed answer to Life on Mars? This can be done via the team portal. There is no restriction to the number of times an attempt is made but there is a cost each time a wrong response is given which increases when multiple attempts are made according to the following schedule:-

1st wrong attempt                                                      -200KJ per team member
2nd wrong attempt                                                     -250KJ per team member
Each subsequent wrong attempt                               -300KJ per team member


If a team submit the correct answer then they will receive a bonus based on how many clues it has taken to answer according to the following schedule:

After 1 clue                               1200 KJ per team member
After 2 clues                             1000 KJ per team member
After 3 clues                             800 KJ per team member
After 4 clues                             600 KJ per team member
After 5 clues                             400 KJ per team member
After 6 clues                             200 KJ per team member
After 7 clues                             100 KJ per team member

The challenge will end at 18:00 on Saturday 12th September where the overall winner will be decided based on total amount of power per team member remaining in the Mars Rover after the addition and subtraction of all bonuses and penalties (from both Stages 1 & 2).

The three prizes to be won: 
  1. Holy Grail, ‘Life on Mars?’: By visiting Clue Points (CPs), you can begin to answer the question that has dogged Humankind since they first discovered Mars. Everyone will have the chance to crack the code, but one team will crack it first. Will it be your team?
  2. Most KJs per Teammate: Over the 5-week challenge, one team will have put in the most sweat and effort into powering the rocket and the Rover on this mission. Will you be at the top of the table on September 12th?
  3. Overall winner: Cracking ‘Space Quests’ and the ‘Life on Mars?’ riddle will earn your team extra points which the MPE HQ will add to your final score. One team will reign supreme with the highest tally, and reveal themselves as having the perfect blend of brain and brawn.