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Adler Planetarium Uses 'Real-Time' NASA Web Data for Exhibit
CyberSpace Gallery at the Adler Planetarium. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago has created an all-electronic exhibit, called the CyberSpace Gallery, which uses images and news from the NASA Web site to present space science themes to the public. Image left: Visitors to the Adler Planetarium can experience a variety of images and immersive technologies. Image courtesy: Adler Planetarium, Chicago.

The CyberSpace Gallery is billed as the future of museum experiences. It features computer-based interactive exhibits, stations which provide realistic, immersive experiences of the universe, a CyberClassroom for up to date information on current astronomy, and a Cyberstudio for interactive video conferencing.

The Gallery's main area allows visitors to view space imagery on large plasma video displays, and provides several immersive viewing stations which, among other things, allow visitors to have a 3-D experience of the Martian landscape. The idea behind the Gallery was to provide content that could quickly and easily be changed, or updated, to accommodate the latest discoveries in space science.

The advent of RSS (Rich Site Summary) technology provided an easy way to finally meet the challenge of providing "real time" content to the Planetarium's visitors. RSS "feeds" are often used by bloggers to create collections of news and other content that are of interest to specific audiences, and in this case, the Planetarium is using NASA RSS feeds to create an exhibit that frequently updates itself with new content for their visitors.

"I think they've made a big improvement in the timeliness of our gallery!" -- Dr. Mark Subbarao, Adler Planetarium
Dr. Mark Subbarao, a research scientist at the planetarium, says space science news often outpaces exhibit design. "It was difficult meeting the challenge of keeping the gallery current." But, he says, the NASA RSS feeds have "made a big improvement in the timeliness of our gallery!"

One of the plasma displays in the main Gallery runs the NASA breaking news feed across the bottom as a news ticker along with the NASA Image Of The Day, which constantly displays a sideshow of the last 5 featured images. NASA Web content is also available in the CyberClassroom as part of a "Newscenter" Web page.

For more information about the CyberSpace Gallery, visit:

For more information about NASA's RSS feeds, visit:
Colin Enger
NASA Headquarters