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NASA to Bring the Stars to Alabama With Interactive Exploration Exhibit
04.04.06
 
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

News Release: 06-041


The Vision for Space Exploration Experience is housed on a 53-foot-long, custom-designed trailer. The stars may have fallen on Alabama, but starting April 6, residents can visit them without ever leaving the ground.

NASA is launching the Vision for Space Exploration Experience – an interactive traveling exhibit allowing visitors to slip the confines of Earth -- on a month-long tour of the state. Stops along the way include Mobile, Tuskegee, Montgomery and Birmingham.

The Experience uses holographic and 3D imagery to show "explorers" what it might be like to visit the surfaces of the moon, Mars and destinations beyond. Visitors can manipulate their environment and explore simulated lunar and Martian landscapes as well as travel to one of Saturn's moons, free of charge.

The first stop on the Alabama tour -- Mobile, beginning April 6 -- combines NASA with America's pastime. The exhibit visits Hank Aaron Stadium to coincide with opening day of the Mobile BayBears baseball season. The BayBears, a double-A minor league baseball team in the San Diego Padres organization, kick off their season with a three-game series against the Carolina Mudcats. The Vision for Space Exploration Experience will be there for each game through April 8. There is no admission charge for the NASA exhibit, but there is a $3 charge for the stadium parking lot, where the exhibit will be set up.

Next the Experience will travel to Tuskegee University in Tuskegee April 10-12, to show what the future of NASA may hold. The exhibit will be open to the public, the university community and students from Tuskegee elementary, middle and high schools.

The exhibit's next stop is a natural for a tour showcasing space exploration. From April 14-15 and 17-18, visitors to the W.A. Gayle Planetarium in Montgomery will see a projection of constellations at the planetarium and then travel among the stars inside the NASA exhibit, located just outside the planetarium.

A special guest will accompany the exhibit one day during the Montgomery stop. Mitzi Adams, a NASA engineer and solar scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, will speak to several groups April 15 -- Astronomy Day. For that day only, the planetarium is waiving its admission charge.

The final stop on the tour is a four-day visit to Birmingham, where the McWane Science Center will host the exhibit April 20-23. The science center has hands-on science activities, an aquarium, a fossil lab and an IMAX theater. To explore outer space, visitors of all ages also can enter the NASA exhibit to learn about travel to other heavenly bodies and the future of space exploration. The exhibit will be located outside the science center.

NASA experts will be on hand at each of the tour's stops to answer questions and discuss some of the 30,000 technologies used on Earth as a result of NASA's years of space-based research and development. Visitors can learn how tomorrow's lifestyles will change as NASA develops advancements in power, computer technologies, communications, networking and robotics. Visitors also will see how other advanced technologies will increase safety and reliability of space transportation systems, while also reducing costs.

Touring the exhibit, which is wheelchair accessible, takes approximately 15 minutes and can accommodate up to 128 visitors each hour. It enables NASA to spread knowledge of the Vision for Space Exploration at up to 50 events annually, reaching millions of Americans nationwide.

Huntsville, Alabama, is the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which has been a key contributor to our nation’s space program throughout its more than 45 year history. Marshall Center led the development of the Saturn V rocket that launched our astronauts on their way to the Moon and manages the propulsion mission for the space shuttle. Marshall currently has a significant role in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration, leading development of the Crew Launch Vehicle that will launch astronauts on their return to the Moon and the Robotic Lunar Exploration-2 Project, a robotic lunar landing mission.

For more information on NASA's Vision for Space Exploration, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov



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