Now Open on Level 4
For centuries, the mysteries of space have captured our imagination and inspired us to look ever further into the cosmos. Now, the Orlando Science Center invites you to begin your exploration at Our Planet, Our Universe, a new permanent exhibit that takes a fascinating look at space as well as elements found right here on Earth.
An original exhibit on astronomy and earth science, Our Planet, Our Universe explores the strange, curious, and odd peculiarities of the universe and our place in it. Discover the dynamic forces and systems that shape our Earth, as well as other planets and discover the latest information about our solar system. New experiences include computer-based interactives and visuals, including images direct from the NASA/Hubble Space Telescope, and hands-on exhibits that explore some strange - and some familiar - phenomena.
The exhibit is divided into distinct areas that explore earth and space - here are a few of the hands-on exhibits you'll encounter:
Earth, Wind & Sky
- Aeolian Landscapes: Lets visitors manipulate fans to discover how the force of wind can shift sand into spectacular dune shapes and patterns.
- Blue Sky: Find out why our sky is blue through manipulation of different filters in front of a light source through a medium.
- Mars Rover: Guide a to the planetary rover over an 8’diameter simulated Martian terrain Takes the controls of the rover to move and pick up rock samples with its robotic arm while your friend watches the images the rover camera reveals.
Planets & Portals
- Ask An Astronomer: interactive video kiosk featuring short, lively and entertaining answers by the astronomers at the Spitzer Space Science Center.
- Cosmic Collisions: See what happens when galaxies collide through an interactive kiosk.
- Tonight’s Sky: What will I see if I look up at the night sky tonight? This software program from NASA is automatically updated every month to show appropriate stars, constellations and other objects playing on a large screen TV.
Gravity, Waves & Warps
- No Sound in Space: Hear what happens when you start an alarm bell, then pump out the air. Can sound waves move through the vacuum of space?
- Black Holes Quiz: Explore the strange and unique phenomena surrounding black holes. Take a journey into a black hole, or find out more at the black hole encyclopedia.
- Warping Space: Manipulate ‘stars’ and ‘planets’ along a 2D universe to see how different space can warp into 3 dimensions.
01 August 2012
Posted in Our Planet, Our Universe
Nearly eight months ago, NASA launched Curiosity - the latest Mars rover - into space. Set to land on Monday, August 6 at 1:31 a.m. EST, NASA scientists and observers around the world anxiously await to see if Curiosity will able to maneuver the landing process and successfully set down on the Red Planet.
NASA scientists and engineers spend so much time working with the Mars Laboratory rovers that the robots become almost like pets, and just like pets, the rovers get names that often say a lot about their "personalities." The name "Curiosity" explains exactly the nature of this rover’s mission, which is to act as a mobile science laboratory on Mars to investigate whether life could ever exist on the planet.
The rover will begin by studying Gale Crater to see if the area contains any of the necessary ingredients that could sustain life. NASA scientists considered 60 different landing sites and spent diligent time analyzing all possibilities before deciding upon Gale Crater as the designated landing location for Curiosity. About as large as Rhode Island, the site was chosen because it provides a variety of interesting places for the rover to explore and is clear of hazards which will help with a safe landing. The rover, which is no larger than a small SUV, will spend the majority of its time examining rocks and soils in the remote areas of Gale Crater.