StenniSphere, the visitor center at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, recently unveiled its latest permanent exhibit – Science on a Sphere – a 68-inch global presentation of planetary data of the past, present and future.
StenniSphere is only the third NASA visitor center to offer Science on a Sphere, an aptly-named computer system that uses four projectors to show dynamic, revolving, animated views of Earth's – and other planets' – atmosphere, geography and more.
For example, one program shows the fluctuation of airplane departures around the world as darkness enshrouds portions of the globe to represent day changing to night. Another offers near real-time weather and earthquake data sets acquired through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites and U.S. Geological Survey seismometers.
Viewers can view and study one month's worth of past weather pattern data. There is even a module that models the effects of global warming through the end of this century and documentaries created specifically for Science on a Sphere, such as an overview of NASA's plans to return to the moon.
Overall, the system, valued at $180,000, has more than 280 data sets, including educational programs that bring complex science lessons to life.
"It's an effort to enhance informal education," said Dr. Nathan Sovik, University Affairs officer for NASA at Stennis. "It's ideal for NASA because it allows us to display planets, moons and earth science data."
Science on a Sphere was developed by NOAA about five years ago. Stennis is the 36th site to house the exhibit.
Stennis Space Center was established in the 1960s to test the huge engines of the Saturn V moon rockets, and today tests every main engine for the space shuttle. StenniSphere offers free tours of America's largest rocket test complex. For additional information or to book a tour of StenniSphere, visit http://www.ssc.nasa.gov/public/visitors/ or call
1-800-237-1821 or (228) 688-2370.
For information about Stennis Space Center, visit:
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