“Space: A Journey to Our Future” opens Saturday,just in time for Father's Day.
It includes a moon and Mars scale so visitors can establish their weight difference from Earth. A human who weighs 187 pounds on Earth weighs 36 pounds on the moon and 67 on Mars.
Although the exhibit tell the story of Gene Cernan,the last man to walk on the moon three decades ago,the exhibit's main focus is a glimpse at the future. Most of the activities are based on projects NASA is working toward.
It includes a 360-degree theater with a show about the solar system,a quarter-scale model of the Orion Capsule – the spacecraft that will take the next generation of human explorers back to the moon – and models of the Ares I and Ares V rockets that will propel the new spacecraft.
Most children will likely enjoy the games that allow them to plan,design and pack for a trip to Mars. They can choose among items – some more practical than others – for space flight,including a space suit,a cell phone,oxygen or skis. Those who make the best choices can become a “space hotshot.”
Museum Director Jack Dailey said the exhibit will help the space program garner some interest for its upcoming revelations.
“We hope the hands on activities will inspire visitors to learn about the history of the space program and develop a life-long interest in its future,” Dailey said.
Children may also land their own lunar rover and build their own space city. But a lunar habitat,where visitors can experience what it's like to live and work on the moon,is the exhibit's main feature.
Joyce Winterton,NASA's associate administrator for education,is excited about all of NASA's future breakthroughs. Like Daily,she said she hopes the exhibit will educate children about the future of the space program.
“This exhibit,at this extraordinary museum,truly has the potential to inspire America's future scientists,engineers,technicians and explorers,” Winterton said.
Daily said the lack of exciting discoveries recently has meant fewer children who are interested in the future of the space program.
“The main purpose of this museum is to create hope for the future,” he said.
The exhibit is funded by NASA,Lockheed Martin and General Motors.
Washington is the 10th city the exhibit has visited. It was in Mexico City,Indianapolis,Los Angeles,St. Louis,Cincinnati,Seattle,Detroit,Omaha,Neb.,and Raleigh, N.C. The exhibition will move to Sacramento after a seven-month stay in Washington that will last until Jan. 11. Evergreen Exhibitions,the producers,is negotiating to bring the exhibit to New York,Chicago and San Diego.