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August 29, 2007

Rebecca Strecker
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000


In recognition of Hurricane Katrina's second anniversary, NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center has opened a new exhibit depicting Stennis' role in helping the region recover from the nation's worst natural disaster and NASA's role in hurricane prediction and research.

On exhibit in SSC's visitor center, StenniSphere, the cyclone-shaped exhibit focuses on the effects of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm and outlines how NASA is working to improve weather forecasting. Through photos, 3-D models and digital animations, the exhibit illustrates the internal mechanics of the storm such as rain and temperature as measured by satellite instruments. It also tells how NASA's satellites and scientific research can increase the accuracy of hurricane tracking and modeling.

"This exhibit provides a platform for educating the public on NASA's cutting-edge Earth science research," said Katie V. Wallace, NASA elementary and secondary education lead in the Office of External Affairs. "We hope it will increase awareness of what our region went through, and provide insight into the local area's recovery after Katrina."  

The exhibit complements StenniSphere's 3-D Visualization Lab, which showcases Hurricane Katrina's storm surge along the Gulf Coast between Hancock County and Pascagoula.

Also on display are exhibits on Hurricane Camille, which struck the area Aug. 17, 1969. Included are photos and videos taken by SSC personnel of the destruction.

Home to America's largest rocket engine test complex, SSC is located just north of Bay St. Louis in Hancock County, Miss., just 45 minutes east of Biloxi and 45 minutes west of New Orleans. StenniSphere offers free tours of the rocket engine test complex to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, except major holidays. Its 14,000-square-foot museum offers fun, educational displays, hands-on activities for children and adults, and space artifacts ranging from a moon rock to a real space shuttle main engine.

Tours to StenniSphere begin at the Launch Pad at the Hancock County Welcome Center on Interstate 10. Visitors 18 and older must present valid state or federal issued identification, such as a driver's license or passport. All foreign nationals must also present a valid passport. Permanent resident aliens must present their federal resident alien card. For more information or to book a group tour, call 1-800-237-1821 or 228-688-2370; or visit http://www1.ssc.nasa.gov/public/visitors/.

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