American Museum of Natural History Opens Beyond Planet Earth. The Future of Space Exploration

. November 29, 2011 . 0 Comments

The American Museum of Natural History presents Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration a new exhibition on view at the American Museum of Natural History from November 19, 2011, through August 12, 2012, offers a vision of the future of space travel as it boldly explores our next steps in our solar system and beyond. The exhibition takes visitors on humanity’s journey to explore the next frontier, either ourselves or via robotic proxies, which have already traveled to every planet in our solar system. Future missions highlighted in Beyond Planet Earth, once limited to the realm of science fiction but today discussed by leading scientists and engineers, include building a space elevator on the surface of the Moon, deflecting a hazardous near-Earth asteroid, and traveling to Mars—perhaps even establishing colonies there.

“This year, as we mark the 50th anniversary of human space flight, is a particularly timely moment to celebrate the enduring curiosity that drives humans to find new ways to explore our universe,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “Although NASA’s final Space Shuttle mission ended this summer, the new missions that are being planned for decades and centuries ahead, as well as the scientific discoveries that await us, are thrilling to consider. We are excited to explore these topics in our new exhibition.”

“Beyond Planet Earth is one of the most ambitious exhibitions on the future of space travel ever attempted,” said Michael Novacek, senior vice president and provost for science at the Museum. “What is significant is that the Museum has moved beyond a retrospective to create a forward-looking examination of our future in the cosmos guided by the latest research, some of it conducted by scientists in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics.”

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 and curator of Beyond Planet Earth.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, a public laser art installation—a dynamic visualization of data captured by Hubble Space Telescope’s spectrometers created by artist Tim Otto Roth—will pulse across the Hayden Sphere in the Museum’s Rose Center for Earth and Space each evening beginning on Monday, November 14, through Sunday, November 27. The installation, From the Distant Past, rings in Beyond Planet Earth and continues the Museum’s long-standing tradition of highlighting the intersection of science and art. (For more information, please see the accompanying release about the laser art installation.)

Before attending the exhibition, visitors can download a free augmented reality (AR) app for iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad created exclusively for Beyond Planet Earth. The app, Beyond Planet Earth Augmented Reality, can be used to activate 11 AR icons located throughout the exhibition, which unlocks animations and allows visitors to share images via email, Facebook, and Twitter in addition to accessing a special site with additional space-themed links. The icons and links can also be found on the Beyond Planet Earth section of amnh.org. (For more information, please see the accompanying release about the Beyond Planet Earth Augmented Reality App.)

Beyond Planet Earth is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with MadaTech: the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, & Space, Haifa, Israel. “MadaTech is honored to partner with the American Museum of Natural History on the Beyond Planet Earth exhibition,” says Dr. Ronen Mir, MadaTech general director. “The collaboration between the two science museums will extend to the development of new science exhibitions.”

The exhibition is made possible through the sponsorship of Lockheed Martin Corporation. “We stand in awe of this magnificent universe of which we are a part, and encoded in our DNA is an innate yearning to reach new horizons, to better understand who we are and what we are capable of achieving,” said Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Lockheed Martin is proud to sponsor Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, and we congratulate the American Museum of Natural History for once again demonstrating that wonder, curiosity, understanding and sharing are among the most profound expressions of our humanity.”

Category: Science Technology

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