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Beyond Planet Earth: An Elevator to the Moon

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Below, astrophysicist Michael Shara, who curated the forthcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, explains how a lunar elevator would work—and why it might inspire a new sport.

We humans are barely toddlers when it comes to space exploration. Our first baby steps off our home planet 50 years ago took us to low Earth orbit. By 1973, 12 intrepid men had walked on the moon’s surface. Since then we have sent robots to every planet in our solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that the ordinary matter we are made of comprises only 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The Kepler orbiting telescope has proved that billions of worlds orbit the stars of our Milky Way galaxy. What will we accomplish in space in the coming centuries, as our steps become surer and bolder?

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, Space Exploration

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Young Naturalist Researches River Contaminants

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Seventeen-year-old Joshua had fond memories of swimming in Arkansas’s Strawberry River, a popular site for community gatherings and picnics. But after the construction of a wastewater treatment facility upstream, no one would enter the waters. “The wonderland where I spent so many hours as a child is deserted now, and nobody swims or fishes in that section of the river,” Joshua would later write. “I decided to find out for myself if the [facility] had indeed contaminated the water, or if the community had overreacted.”

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

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”Fly Me to the Moon” Guest Andrew Chaikin on the Moon and the Museum

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With the conclusion of NASA’s shuttle program and the upcoming launch of the latest Mars rover, the future of space exploration is once again a hot topic—and humans’ first steps on the Moon are all the more important to revisit.

On October 25, join Apollo historian Andrew Chaikin and the Museum’s Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart for October’s Astronomy Live program, Fly Me to the Moon. The evening begins at 6:30 pm and includes a flight simulation to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor using the latest data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, along with mapping photographs taken from lunar orbit by the Apollo astronauts 40 years ago.

Chaikin recently answered a few questions about his passion for space exploration.

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, NASA, Rose Center for Earth and Space

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