Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=100237
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 5:57:37 AM CST
Get your picture taken on Mars, build a rocket and view the International Space Station.
These are just a few of the things you can do at “Celebrating NASA: 50 Years of Exploration,” a temporary exhibit at the Adler Planetarium, which opened Wednesday and runs until Monday.
"We want to share the excitement of NASA’s history and the excitement of the new programs that will take us back to the moon and beyond.” said James E. Hull, Washington D.C.-based manager of exhibits and artifacts for NASA.
"The mission of the travelling exhibit is to create awareness of the 50-year-old NASA and the benefits to society stemming from NASA programs, he said. The exhibit has a variety of displays showing how NASA’s research has led companies to develop commonly used products, such as thermometers, laptops and GPS technology.
This family friendly exhibit began in January in Seattle and has made stops throughout the county before closing at the Alder Planetarium, which will also host NASA’s Future Forums on Oct. 10. The upcoming Forum will include a keynote address by NASA Deputy Administer Shana Dale, as well as two panels discussing “Unleashing the Power of Technology and Creativity” and “Pushing the Limits of Knowledge to Inspire a New Generation.”
The two-floor exhibit focuses on four different aspects of NASA:
*Exploration. This is the largest part of the exhibit and focuses on NASA’s Constellation Program, NASA’s plan to return humans to the moon by 2020, with eventual journeys to Mars and beyond. It includes visual displays and interactive presentations that allow visitors to better understand the space travel and living.
*Science. This section contains the Magic Planet Interactive display. Through computer adjustment, people can visualize changes in temperature, currents, planets and more on a large model globe as they change between the different selections.
*Aeronautics. Since people often primarily focus on NASA’s space program, its contributions to aeronautics are often overlooked. This section reminds visitors of NASA’s work to make airplanes more efficient, safer and quieter. This section displays NASA Aero Contributions Kiosk, an interactive station that allows visitors to click on different parts of a plane to evaluate how NASA has improved devices and research in that area of the plane.
*Human space flight. Here visitors can take photos of themselves in spacesuits on the moon or Mars. The Alpha Kiosk is an interactive display, allowing visitors to see a replica the International Space Station and to manipulate the image to see various angles of the station on the large 42-inch monitor.
Micah Trimm waited for the picture of his infant daughter wearing a spacesuit on Mars to drop out of one of the interactive displays. He recently moved to Chicago and was visiting the planetarium with his wife and new baby. “It’s a different kind of experience,” he said.