Space, the Final Frontier; the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery blasts off into full Star Trek mode with the opening of a new astronomy exhibit. Beyond Earth: The Exploration of Space debuts Saturday, October 21, and runs through late August of 2018.
You are invited to investigate the mysteries of the universe as revealed through space exploration. The exhibit will focus on our Earth’s Moon and Mars and examines how robots are used to further scientific research. Beyond Earth also looks at the role of telescopes in exploring the outer reaches of space.
The exploration of space began centuries ago when the first telescope was pointed toward the heavens, and visitors to Beyond Earth will be able to view one of four original copies of Galileo’s telescope that was commissioned by the Museum for the History of Science in Florence, Italy, in 1966 after a flood nearly destroyed the original. Gifted to the Museum in 1971, this telescope will be the centerpiece of an entire section of the exhibition dedicated to telescopes, with other telescopes from the turn of the century.
Another dramatic artifact on display is a six-foot diameter highly-detailed model of the Moon that highlights the six landings from the Apollo missions to the Moon. “Many people that visited the Boonshoft when it was known as the Dayton Museum of Natural History will remember the large model of the Moon,” said Jason Heaton, Boonshoft Museum Director of Astronomy. The rotating lunar replica was an exhibit fixture for years before major renovation of the Astronomy Department area.
“Ohio and the Dayton area have had a large part in space exploration.” Says Heaton, “After all, Neil Armstrong was from Ohio. Miamisburg engineers created pieces of the Cassini spacecraft that just ended its mission by descending into Saturn’s upper atmosphere.”
A guaranteed attention-grabber is the phenomenal Yaskawa Motoman Dual-Arm Robot. This automaton can handle lots of complicated tasks, from making an egg sandwich and packing commercial boxes to complex activities requiring precision robotics.
“Motoman robots similar to the one featured in our exhibit have even flown in the “Vomit Comet,” an aircraft that simulates the microgravity experienced by astronauts in orbit.”
The day is also scheduled to be the reopening of the Museum’s Planetarium after a busy month of renovation. The new face-lift has been designed to create a more comfortable, immersive educational and viewing experience.
Models will illustrate some of the different planetary objects in the Solar System that humans have landed on, such as Mars, Venus, Comet 67P, and the asteroid Itokawa.
Beyond Earth will also draw attention to a number of everyday products used in the home that are a direct result of the NASA space program. Items on display such as laptops, GPS devices, and the Dustbuster are a direct result of Apollo missions.
“Some of the very first versions of what became known as the laptop flew on Space Shuttle missions in the early 1980’s,” stated Heaton. “One third of cell phone cameras in use today actually stem from NASA technology that was originally created to create tiny quality cameras for satellites.”
Guests can expect to interact with multiple touch screen kiosks about the Earth and the Solar System. Space-themed puzzles, books, and toy rockets will be available for young astronauts.
Free photo opportunities include the chance to take a selfie with the Curiosity Rover and children can dress up as an astronaut or a mission control scientist. Cost: Included with Museum admission.
About the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery – Located at 2600 DeWeese Parkway, the Boonshoft Museum is open to the public 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 12 noon-5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $14.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors (60+), and $11.50 for children (3-17). Children under 3 and members are free. (937) 275-7431. BoonshoftMuseum.org.