Exhibit Hall

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.

 

 

This week held big news for the future of the International Space Station. A new Canadian, Russian and UK collaboration mixes the live stream concept of Google Earth and video playback feature of YouTube to create UrtheCast.com (pronounced “Earth Cast”). With two HD cameras set on the Russian module of the ISS, site users will be virtual spaceship captains, as they search, watch, rewind, fast forward, and zoom in and out of live streams of Earth.

From their own computers and mobile devices, UrtheCast users can clearly see man-made objects and people, and also track the ISS to see when it’ll fly over their homes. At a frame rate of 3.25 frames per second and the ability to zoom-in to 1.1 meters, the cameras are extremely precise in location and time. As if that weren’t stellar enough, UrtheCast can also be shared through Facebook and Twitter, downloaded as a Smartphone App, and third party developers can take video for their own applications.

Here's a video from the company:


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In Our Planet, Our Universe, you can step on a scale to see how much you weigh on each planet. The difference of mass, gravity and planet’s distance from the sun makes your weight fluctuate by sometimes thousands of pounds! Take your curiosity further and see how many years and days old you are on each planet in relation to their rotation periods. You’ll also be able to see when your next birthday would be on each planet! Start celebrating by entering your birthday on this website:

Birthday


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On June 1, this year’s second partial solar eclipse overcame the midnight sky over the Arctic Circle. Also visible from parts of Alaska and Canada, the eclipse began at sunrise in Siberia and northern China at 19:25 UT, ending about 3.5 hours later north of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. Another partial solar eclipse is set to grace a small area in the Antarctic Ocean on July 1. A fourth and final partial solar eclipse will also occur November 25 over the southern land of midnight sun.

According to dictionary.com, solar eclipses are the obscuration of the light of the sun by the intervention of the moon between it and a point on the earth. These are beautiful astronomical phenomena, but can be dangerous to look at directly without proper eye protection.  But, how can a solar eclipse be seen at midnight you ask? After all, at night time wouldn’t it be a lunar eclipse? Usually it would, but because of the location of the eclipse, in the Arctic Circle, during the time of the year, the sun is visible even at midnight, making a solar eclipse at midnight possible. Just another of nature’s beautiful oddities!

PSELaplandJun2011_3beldea


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Mini isn’t just for i-Pods anymore. Mason Peck, a Cornell University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering led the production of three 1-inch square satellites that flew with the Endeavour space shuttle in May. The small satellites, called Sprites, have a big task of measuring conditions in space and collecting information on chemistry, radiation and particle impacts. Since they’re the size of a postage stamp, it will be easy for Sprites to drift with space particles and settle on the International Space Station for a few years.  Large satellites can cost millions of dollars, which is why scientists are trying to downsize the technology. They hope the Sprites will open doors to future small-sized exploration for communication and further data collecting abilities in space.  This is one small piece of technology for "one giant leap for mankind."

Mini__Satelite_2


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Cady_Coleman

While thousands looked to cross “Witness a Space Shuttle Launch” off their Bucket List, Endeavor Astronaut Catherine (Cady) Coleman knocked “Play with LEGO’s in Space” off NASA’s. This is not the first time Cady has made history in space, as she was also the first person to play a flute in space.

lego-space-shuttle

Cady now gets to be the first Astronaut in History to experiment with Lego’s, in a microgravity environment, on STS 134. Astronauts will also and share results with teachers, students and classrooms via Lego Education beginning in September.

Lego

Don’t forget to check out our exciting Summer Camps, including dates for LEGO specific camps. For more info on LEGO’s in space, visit the following links:

http://www.legospace.com/en-us/Default.aspx

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/space-shuttle-endeavor-launches-tomorrow-with-a-special-payload/

http://gizmodo.com/5802503/these-are-the-first-lego-sets-ever-launched-into-space

 


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
  Supported by the City of Orlando, Orange County, and United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts campaign and the State of Florida,
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