Beyond Planet Earth
The Ontario Science Centre is hosting a new exhibition that is taking visitors on an out-of-this-world tour! Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, gives its visitors a vision of the future of space travel as it examines humanity's next steps in our solar system and beyond.
An elevator to transport people to the moon, an inflatable habitat for living in space, a sleek next-generation spacesuit for a stroll on Mars are just a few of the fascinating exhibits in Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration. You'll also be able to experience the future of space travel now: walk the surface of Mars, or fly over it, witness a “spaceplane” currently in development, help save Earth by deflecting away a “doomsday” asteroid, and much more.
The exhibition celebrates the pioneering accomplishments of both manned and unmanned space missions and considers the critical partnership of robotic spacecraft and astronauts as humanity journeys farther beyond Earth. It opens with a retrospective of important space missions, with authentic equipment and models of historic spacecraft including Sputnik, the first manmade satellite, the Apollo lunar module, and the Hubble Space Telescope. Visitors can also glimpse the possible future of commercial space travel with a scale model of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, designed to ferry passengers into outer space in the near future.
Beyond Planet Earth then moves into sections of immersive environments that offer a glimpse at what the next 50 to 100 years may bring. Informed by the latest scientific research, the exhibition transports visitors to faraway destinations, from Mars to Europa and beyond.
The exhibition also offers a new level of interactivity thanks to a new augmented reality (AR) app created as a companion to the exhibition Beyond Planet Earth. Visitors will be able to find a Mars-bound spaceship, glimpse a near-Earth asteroid, watch a Mars rover, and more. You can download the app before visiting the exhibition, then look for eleven AR icons sprinkled throughout the show. By using the camera on your iPod touch or iPhone, you can activate the icon and unlock animations. Then, visitors can share images by email or post to Facebook and Twitter. A link to a special site will let visitors collect other icons, find out the science behind space technologies, and share photos with friends.
Beyond Planet Earth is a must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about exploring the universe.
Here are some highlights and exhibits you will see:
Beyond Planet Earth visitors can fly around Mars and zoom in on cavernous craters, massive volcanoes, and vast valleys with Mars Explorer, an interactive console that debuts with this exhibition. © AMNH\D. Finnin.
Take Your Picture in a BioSuit™
BioSuit™ is a form-fitting next generation spacesuit prototype by MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor Dava Newman, on view in the exhibition. Visitors to the exhibition can take their photographs in a model of a BioSuit™ on the surface of Mars.
If humans do set up a base on the Moon, we would eventually need a way to get materials to and from the Moon’s surface. Spacecraft have to travel 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) per second—faster than a speeding bullet— to launch off the surface of the Moon. A lunar elevator that would carry humans from the moon towards a space station where they would catch a ride back to Earth could sharply reduce that effort and expense. © AMNH\D. Finnin.
Future Space Capsule
In the future, astronauts might head to the International Space Station, the Moon, or even to asteroids and to Mars in a space capsule like this one currently being built for NASA by a team led by Lockheed Martin. This “multi-purpose crew vehicle,” which could house up to four astronauts, is called Orion after the mythical Greek hunter from whom the familiar constellation in the sky takes its name. © AMNH\D. Finnin.
Bigelow Moon Habitat
Made with walls of reinforced fabric, expandable spacecraft like this model by the private space company Bigelow Aerospace—shown here
in one-third scale—may one day house astronauts on the Moon. © AMNH\D. Finnin.
Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org) in collaboration with Madatech: The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space, Haifa, Israel. The exhibition will remain on view until January 1, 2013. For more information, visit: www.ontariosciencecentre.ca.