Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beyond Planet Earth - Exploring Space with Your Kids

What are you doing this weekend? Have you been to the Ontario Science Centre lately? Well, if you are in the Toronto area and your littles (or you) are into the whole space thing, this would be a great time to check it out.  They have a special exhibit on now, running through January 1, 2013 - "Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration."  The exhibit includes models, artifacts, and films covering the past, present and future of space exploration.  They even have a model of a lunar elevator that might one day transport people from the moon to a space station, where they would catch a flight back to Earth. Wow. Little Boo wasn't so sure he approved of that one. He did very much love the models of the Mars Rover and Curiosity. He was also stoked for a photo opp in a space suit in a Mars landscape.
posing on Mars

Little Boo on Mars
Curiosity is currently searching Mars for signs of life

From the official description:
"Witness a “spaceplane” currently in development. Walk the surface of Mars, or fly over it, zooming in on its otherworldly features. Be tested to see if you can handle a trip to Mars. Using touch-screens, you can help save Earth by deflecting away a “doomsday” asteroid. Use a multi-touch table to transform Mars into an environment suitable for humans. Experience the future now."
If you will be bringing an i-device with you (iPod, iPad, iPhone), be sure to download the free augmented reality app that accompanies this exhibit. You will find a number of cards like the one pictured above throughout the exhibit. Open the app, tap "Explore," and point your camera at the icon. This will unlock a 3D animation and additional information. You can collect and share these animations as you explore. It's a pretty cool addition to the experience. (Note - there is free Wi-Fi in the exhibit in case you don't get the app before you arrive.)

There are some very detailed models of future developments, including this one of what a future moon base might look like: 
Beyond Planet Earth
 And information on the whys and wherefores of future space exploration:

We had a lot of fun exploring this exhibit, and I think you will too. Let me know if you do go, or if you've visited already. What did you think? Did you have a favourite part?

Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York ( in collaboration with Madatech: The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space, Haifa, Israel.

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