Future of Exploration Exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre

An immersive, interactive exhibit featuring many aspects of our past, present and future exploration of the solar system and beyond is being featured at the Ontario Science Centre.

Called "Beyond Planet Earth - The Future of Space Exploration", the exhibit will be on display at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto until January 1, 2013.

Some features of the exhibit are:

- an elevator to transport people to the moon
- an inflatable habitat for living in space or on the Moon
- a sleek new spacesuit for a stroll on Mars
- a look back at the early days of Sputnik and Vostok
- an astronaut on the Canadarm working on upgrading the Hubble Space telescope
- a Japanese space probe landing on an asteroid
- a future unmanned spaceship that could land on Jupiter's moon Europa to search for life on the moon's underground oceans
- samples of astronaut food
- full scale models of Mars Rovers Opportunity and Curiosity

The exhibition features an interactive electronic touch table game that lets participants transform Mars by changing the atmosphere and surface conditions to create a habitable planet, or destroy it. Other displays allow visitors to "sniff the moon" or step inside a space suit prototype for a photo-op.

"Since 1969 when the Ontario Science Centre opened, weeks after Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, and when, a few years later people lined up by the thousands to view our moon rocks, public interest in programs, films and exhibitions related to space has been very strong; Beyond Planet Earth will be a must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about exploring the universe. The historic review will remind people of the excitement of the early Gemini and Apollo missions while future focused elements will stimulate us to consider the future potential of space exploration," said Lesley Lewis, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "As the Mars Rover Curiosity takes photos and analyzes samples of the red planet millions of kilometers away, reporting in daily to its Facebook friends, our visitors will see a life-sized model of Curiosity and walk through a representation of the landscape it is exploring."

"After seeing this exhibition, some of our younger visitors may dream about whether they'll be able to travel into space in their lifetimes," said Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Vice-President, Science Experience and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "Beyond Planet Earth may also spark an interest in aerospace engineering, astrophysics and other potential careers in space exploration."

"While we can't predict what the spaceships carrying us and our robots will look like, we do know where we're going, the challenges of getting there, and the opportunities available when we arrive at destinations as alien as anything out of Star Trek," said Michael Shara, Curator in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History and Curator of Beyond Planet Earth.

The exhibit is a must-see for anyone interested in past, present, and future space exploration. The past and present exhibits are somewhat brief; however, the future space exploration exhibit is thorough and will certainly generate much interest and discussion.

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.