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By Mariya Greeley | Video by Sam Crimmins
| August 20, 2018
Space has inspired curiosity and wonder across cultures for as long as people have been looking at the sky. Even now, there is so much left to contemplate, imagine, and discover beyond this planet and beyond this corner of our solar system. How will humans get to Mars? Could they live there long-term? Is there intelligent life somewhere else out there?
Through a variety of interactive activities, videos, and displays, the Museum of Science’s newest exhibit—SPACE: An Out-of-Gravity Experience—offers guests an opportunity “to imagine themselves in a totally different environment,” said Grace Ignarri, the traveling exhibits logistical coordinator. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of interstellar travel, they can “imagine what it’s like to live and work in space, inviting them to conquer new and exciting problems.” Visitors can try their hand as an astronaut by operating a robotic arm, managing a limited power supply, using space gloves, and more.
“Kids, especially, have such a wide imagination,” Ignarri said. Equipped with uninhibited creativity, kids can often dream up the best answers to questions that stump the rest of us. When asked their thoughts about rocketing into space, tomorrow’s potential astronauts and astrophysicists did not disappoint.
Some were practical about their decision to launch into the unknown. “I would not be part of the first mission to Mars,” Jack said. “I might go in later expeditions, but space freaks me out because there’s no oxygen up there.”
Others were more inclined to follow their gut. Timmy, who visits the Museum of Science often, said he would go to Neptune, “because it’s blue and it’s my favorite color!”
If these youngsters were a team of astronauts, they would be well prepared with books, an iPad, food, shampoo, lots of toys and stuffed animals, a colorful rack of spacesuits, and several heartened parents. “I want to go to space with my dad,” Kallen said, “we would build a rocket ship and then we could fly right up to space.”
Many didn’t think they’d encounter life among the stars, but some weren’t so sure. “I think that there could be aliens in space,” Kieran said, “but the question would be where are they in space.”
Aliens “have fur on them,” Kallen stated with quiet confidence.
The museum hopes this kind of imagination will inspire the next generation of scientists. And it appears to be working. Sierra, who thinks she wants to be a doctor, said she enjoyed all the experiments at the exhibit. Meanwhile Isabella, a potential future biologist, said she was interested to learn that spacesuits protect astronauts’ spines from stretching in weightlessness (although she wouldn’t mind being a little taller, she joked).
Sponsored by Museum of Science
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