Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Museum of Science and Industry presents Life In Space exhibit

Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago presents Life In Space, an exhibit on view through through September 30, 2012.

Was there—or is there—alternate life in space? Could humans find a way to live in space one day?

Model of NASA’s Curiosity Located in the Museum’s Lower Court east gallery, this full-scale, NASA-owned model of the Curiosity Rover, named Dusty, is one of only two in the world! [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]

These questions have plagued scientists for hundreds of years, ever since Earth was discovered to be one of countless planetary bodies. In reality, the search for life on Mars is not for the octopus-like Martians of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds but for microbes that would give us an indication that Mars ever supported life—even millions of years ago. And even though we first landed on the Moon in 1969, the idea of a Moon colony presents the issues of solar radiation, and lack of oxygen, power, sustenance and plentiful water.

Despite the challenges behind these complex questions, scientists have never stopped asking them and searching for possible answers. The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s new temporary exhibit, Life in Space?, examines the latest technology and research in the search for life on Mars and a colony on the Moon with a NASA model of the Curiosity Rover and a prototype for a lunar greenhouse. This exhibit is included in general admission.

MSI will display a full-scale, NASA-owned model of the Curiosity Rover. The model, named Dusty, is a life-sized, six-wheeled robotic explorer modeled after the real Curiosity rover, a 7-foot-tall robot scientist on wheels scheduled to land on the Red Planet on Monday, August 6, 2012 at 12:31 a.m. CDT. MSI is one of only two institutions in the world selected by NASA to host a full-scale model of the rover during the landing. The Curiosity rover, bigger than a small car, is the largest robotic scout sent to shed light on the question: Did Mars ever harbor life?

Curiosity carries many advanced tools including a drill, cameras, and a rock-vaporizing laser, which are designed to collect information and samples to help us learn about the geology, atmosphere and environmental conditions on Mars—as well as seek out potential evidence of life, or small microbes, on the Red Planet. In order to learn as much about Mars as possible, Curiosity will land in Gale Crater, a huge impact crater with layered materials from time periods throughout the history of Mars.

Videos in the exhibit will show the precision engineering and luck it takes to land a rover successfully. Only about one in three landing craft make it to the surface of Mars successfully.

Rock and mineral samples, similar to what may be found on Mars, will also be displayed. Guests will learn more about Mars, the evolution of NASA rovers and what scientists look for when choosing Martian landing sites.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *