Astronaut exhibit launched at Exploration Place in Wichita
A new traveling exhibition dedicated to preparing to spend time in space launches this weekend at Exploration Place.
“Astronaut,” which opens Friday October 1 and runs through January 2, 2022, is an interactive and hands-on exhibit on how astronauts prepare to work and live on the International Space Station.
With commercial space travel becoming a possibility, the exhibit is particularly timely, said Laura Roddy, director of marketing and development at the science center.
In some of the 26 exhibits, visitors can simulate and measure physical functions, such as cardio or grip strength, necessary for space exploration. Other exhibits show the importance of teamwork and precision in the execution of tasks during space missions.
In the G-Force Trainer, which feels like a solo teacup ride, “you have to turn hard and fast to develop the G-forces,” said Daniel Bateman, visitor services manager.
Commonly referred to as G-force, the equivalent of gravitational force describes the amount of force a person’s body feels when it accelerates. Just standing on Earth measures 1 g. Re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere from space can generate up to 5 gs, Bateman said.
Having worked at the Cosmosphere for a dozen years and visited the NASA facilities, Bateman is a bit over the moon about the exhibit. He has created a 25-minute live science show that is linked to the exhibit and will run three times a day.
In another area of the exhibition hall, visitors can see various modules, similar to those that make up the International Space Station. Two modules deal with very basic human functions, such as sleeping and using the bathroom. Astronauts have to strap themselves into some sort of sleeping bag that is displayed vertically in the pod, although there is technically no room in space, Bateman explained.
The lunar toilet or the space pot module shows how complex the simple earthly task of going to the toilet becomes in space. It can take 25 to 45 minutes in space. Astronauts should use toe wedges and thigh straps to stay seated, use a hose that connects to an adapter for peeing and for the other bathroom function, “you have to line up the two holes “Or it can get pretty messy,” Bateman said.
Several video monitors feature images of astronauts performing various activities, such as running on a treadmill or cleaning up spilled water that turns into bubbles floating in space. Astronauts remain physically active in space not only for their own well-being, but also for research that is also useful to those of us on Earth.
“Astronaut” was created by Australian company Scitech, so expect British English spellings for some words.
Other activities related to the exhibition include:
Daily “Orbit Academy” science shows at 11 am, 2 pm and 3:30 pm The show, which lasts approximately 25 minutes, uses fun experiments and exhibits to prepare visitors to become space tourists. The show is included in all access tickets; otherwise, admission is $ 5 for ages 12-64, $ 4 for seniors, $ 3 for ages 3-11, and free for ages 2 and under and members.
Two simultaneous exhibitions: “Bridging Art & Science” features commissioned works of art – including those of notables Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Annie Liebowitz – from the NASA art program and is on display in the gallery on the bridge leading to the exhibitions Exploration Place; “Drone-tography: The Elevated Eye” features drone footage of Wichita and Kansas by Wichitan Jeremy Miller and is on display in WaterWay Hall.
Virtual astronaut tour with NASA astronaut Army Lt. Col. Anne C. McClain at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 7, in the Exploration Place Dome Theater. McClain was a flight engineer on two International Space Station expeditions and was selected to be part of Artemis, NASA’s mission to return to the moon. Admission to the conference is free, but tickets are required. You can get them at exploration.org/full-events/astronaut-virtual-visit. Doors open at 6.30 p.m.
“Ethics of Space Exploration” lecture by James SJ Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the State of Wichita, at 7 pm Thursday, November 11, in person at the Kemper Creative Learning Studio. Free entry to the conference, which will include topics such as spending money on space exploration, the ethics of making other planets human habitable, and space prospecting.
‘Astronaut’ exhibition at Exploration Place
What: New traveling exhibition on preparation and life in space, with daily science shows
Or: 300 N. McLean Blvd., Wichita
When: Until January 2, 2022; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Wednesday and until 8 p.m. Thursday. Masks compulsory on Mondays.
Admission: Tickets for all shows are $ 11.50 for ages 12-64, $ 10 for ages 65 and over, $ 8 for ages 3-11, free for members and ages 2 and under. Upgrades to an all-access ticket, which includes admission to the Dome Theater and the live science show, are available. Admission on Thursdays after 5:30 p.m. is $ 5 for adults, $ 3 for children 3 to 11, free for members and 2 and under.
More information: 316-660-0600 or exploration.org