Friday, October 5, 2012

Space museum: To infinity and beyond

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Gee, I might have decided to be a scientist if there were cool things around when I was kid to motivate me like the Science On a Sphere I saw today at the Space Foundation. Although it's hard to do it justice with my little camera, here's a shot of it.

The Space Foundation held a grand opening today for the Northrop Grumman Science Center at the foundation's new headquarters at 4425 Arrowswest Drive.

The center was funded with a $375,000 donation from Northrop Grumman and features a replica of the moon module built by the defense contractor.

Lon Rains, director of strategic communications for Northrop Grumman, says such investments are made to advance educational programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). "These are exciting careers," he says before the dedication. "Things like this really grab their interest. This is about making sure we give opportunities so the next generation of dreamers can build things in space. They think it's our destiny."

Already, 350 students from the area have toured the facility during soft openings in the past few weeks, says Iain Probert, the foundation's vice president for education. Fourteen classes from kindergarten to high school have experienced the center, which is open for field trip bookings. "The children were blown away," he says. "The teachers were blown away."

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the sphere, a dynamic spherical projection system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that uses special software and satellite imagery to render dramatic, full motion views of the Earth, sun, moons and planets, the foundation says in a press release.

"The Space Foundation has long dreamed of creating a space where we can offer students and visitors an extraordinary educational experience. Northrop Grumman made it possible for us to do this very quickly and in a spectacular way," Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham said in a news release. "We are thrilled that, through this collaboration, we are offering teachers and students a compelling platform for STEM education and we are launching a new visitor destination in northwest Colorado Springs at time when the community needs it."

More shots of features in the exhibit:

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