by Debra Johnson, Published August 13, 2013
YPSILANTI - Do you have the right stuff to land a NASA crew safely on the moon? Find out by taking the controls in a lunar landing craft simulator - just one of many space exploration activities you'll find in the NASA Glenn Research Center's "Journey to Tomorrow" exhibit coming to Eastern Michigan University.
The traveling exhibit will be on Eastern's campus for the 2013 Star Party on Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 8 p.m. The Star Party will provide guests with an opportunity to explore interactive space activities, and visit EMU's planetarium along with Sherzer Observatory. The events are free and open to the public.
NASA's 53-foot trailer has been transformed into an interactive informal learning environment that brings the excitement of space exploration to young and old alike. The trailer is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. The exhibit will be parked in the Oakwood South parking lot in front of the EMU Science Complex, located off Oakwood Street and Washtenaw Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI. Visit the EMU campus map for directions to the Science Complex.
An inspiring video welcomes visitors to the exhibit and sets the tone for the journey. Guests can explore technology on interactive computer kiosks and hands-on workstations that include activities such as Improving Today's Flight, NASA Home and City, which highlights spinoff products created from NASA's research programs or you can take a quiz in Sci-Fi vs. Science Fact that will test your knowledge of fact vs. myth.
Other activities include Brain Bites, an interactive kiosk that will give you a chance to ask questions like... "Does the moon rotate or spin?" or "Why do we only see one side of the moon?" Dynamic Planet is another activity that will provide a hands-on interactive exploration of the earth, sun and our solar system.
Guests will also be treated to the ultimate artifact on display - a real moon rock collected by Apollo 17 astronauts during one of their missions to the Taurus-Littrow Valley landing site.
And as you exit the trailer, a "Picture Yourself in Space" photo kiosk will provide guests with a complimentary souvenir of themselves as an astronaut in space, on the moon or on Mars.
In addition to the NASA exhibit, visitors can take a seat in the EMU planetarium and watch one of the spectacular movies "Stars" or "The Little Star That Could" on the expansive 28 foot-diameter domed ceiling.
"Stars," is a full-dome digital show featuring Dolby surround sound that explores the life of stars, and our relationship with the night sky throughout history. Show times for "Stars" will be at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17. The movie is appropriate for ages 13 and up and has a run time of 30 minutes. To see a preview of the movie, visit the Stars Movie Preview.
Younger stargazers will want to check out "The Little Star That Could," which is a story about a little star in search of planets of his own to protect and warm. Along the way, he meets other stars and learns what makes each star special. Show times will be Friday, Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. This movie is appropriate for all ages and has a run time of 35 minutes. Visit The Little Star That Could Movie to watch a preview.
Both movies are free and will be shown in the EMU planetarium, located inside the Science Complex in room 402. Space is limited to 37 guests at each show.
The night of Friday, Aug. 16, visitors can ascend to the rooftop of Sherzer Observatory for a look through the powerful telescopes at objects in the night sky. Members of EMU's Astronomy Club will be on hand to answer questions and point out interesting celestial objects in the sky. The stargazing will start at 10 p.m. (weather permitting).