By Penny Kmitt

See WTKR's interview with the ODU's Planetarium Director, Justin Mason, by clicking here.

The Barry Art Museum is soaring to new heights with Mars Fest 2022, the second installation of what is now Old Dominion University's annual public arts festival.

This year's festival features artist Luke Jerram's large-scale sculpture of the planet Mars. The shockingly realistic depiction of the red planet hovers at nearly 23 feet in diameter. Each centimeter of the sculpture equates to 10 kilometers on the surface of Mars, creating an approximate scale of 1:1 million.

Science not your thing? Mars Fest also includes several dance performances, glassblowing by the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, and a special red beer made by Cova Brewing Company. Seldon Market is also offering a 'Martian Market' with about 15 local vendors, and guests will be able to look through high-quality telescopes with Back Bay Amateur Astronomers.

During the event, the Barry Art Museum will also be open to visitors with special experiences hosted by NASA.

"The irresistible enchantment of the red planet has captured the imagination of astronomers, revolutionaries, mystics, engineers, writers, artists, and scientists alike. This artwork comes into orbit at a poignant time, when NASA is launching their Artemis mission and we look up in wonder at this desolate beauty," said Charlotte Potter Kasic, executive director for the Barry Art Museum.

Mars Fest runs October 14-16 and is free to the public. The Mars structure will be illuminated from dusk until dawn.

Visitors are welcome to take pictures with Mars after the festival ends at 10 p.m.