The exploration of space has always been a thing that has intrigued me ever since I was a kid. I knew that I had to visit the NASA – A Human Adventure Exhibition to relive my childhood dreams of being an astronaut. After all it is the most comprehensive and extensive touring space-flight exhibition in the world.
Held at the ArtScience Museum, the exhibition is produced by John Nurminen Events B.V with artefacts on loan from The Cosmosphere International Science Education Center and Space Museum and U.S Space & Rocket Center.
Running from 19 November 2016 to 19 March 2017, the exhibition chronicles man’s efforts in space exploration through five galleries featuring over 200 historically significant artefacts, including some that have been taken to space
Learn about the beginnings of space travel, the race to be the first in space, the pioneers in space travel, the improvements in space flight technology to endure the harsh conditions of space and constant innovations in man’s journey to go further into space.
Complement your experience with an array of unique workshops, screenings, performances and other programmes that will hopefully bring you one step closer to starting your space journey.
Every impossible task begins with a dream, and man’s foray into space was no different. The first gallery, “Dreamers” is where I got to learn about the writers and artists that explored the idea of space.
Learn about how each of them were intrigued by the fact that there could be life beyond what we have on Earth. You might be familiar with one of the writers here, H.G Wells who is the man behind the iconic science fiction book, “The Time Machine”.
Thanks to the men who dared to dream about the impossibility of making it into space, the challenge was on to see who could send the first satellite into space and to be the first human to go beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
Here at “Go Fever” I learnt quite a bit about the fierce competition between the Soviet Union and the United States in the late 1950s, the competition intensified when the Soviet Union managed to launch the Sputnik in 1957.
Moving on to the third zone, “Pioneers” which is dedicated to the scientists and engineers who were the minds behind making space travel a reality. Here you can also find the evolution of rockets such as the first rocket – German V-2 all the way to the latest launcher, the Saturn V.
One of the pioneers is Russian scientist, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who was the first to delve into the theoretical requirements of space travel and rocket propulsion. He developed the Tsiolkovsky Formula which remains as a fundamental principle of astronautics to this day.
The experimental nose cone from a Jupiter rocket was launched by the USA into space carrying animals such as mice and monkeys into low orbits of the Earth. On 28 May 1959, two monkeys Able and Baker were the first monkeys to survive spaceflight aboard the Jupiter IRBM AM-18.
Juniper Nose Cone was was one of the first to use an ablative head shield with a covering made from ceramic material to protect the nose from intense heat (>1000 degrees celcius) when re-entering into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Take a peek at the 1:10 scale model of the Saturn-V, the liquid fueled launch vehicle was used to support the Apollo programme for human exploration of the moon. It was also later used to launch Skylab – the first American space station.
It is still till today, one of the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status. Holding the record for the heaviest payload ever launched and the largest payload capacity rate able to reach a low earth orbit (LEO) at 265,000 pounds.
It’s pretty apt, how this gallery is named “Endurance” given how hostile the space environment is. Here we are presented with special equipment that are used on space flight missions such as the different models of space suits that have been developed across the years, including some that have been worn by astronauts on space flight missions.
Get to see how astronauts move around in space with a full-scale replica of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle(LRV) which was used on the moon on the last three missions of the Apollo program (15, 16, 17).
The LRV’s had great surface mobility; being able to travel at a top speed of 13km per hour. This greatly expanded the range of lunar explorers as they were initially restricted by their bulky spacesuit equipment.
Innovation continues to remain at the forefront of space travel. As missions became more daring and lasted longer, newer ideas and technologies had to be innovated. This gallery showcases the collection of operational American manned spacecraft such as the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the Space Shuttle.
Take a tour of the full-scale construction of the front section of the iconic Space Shuttle. Have a peek at the Flight Deck where the astronauts fly the orbiter during launch and landings.
Just look at how many buttons there are are on the deck, no wonder you need to go through years of training just to be able to operate one of these.
If you’re wondering where the astronaut crew eat, sleep and work on experiments, have a look for yourself at the mid-deck and see if you can imagine yourself living in such situations.
Did you know that the Space Shuttle was the world’s first reusable space craft for transporting cargo to space and back. It also conducts cutting-edge research and contributed greatly to the construction of the International Space Station (ISS) – the largest man-made structure in space.
Turn your dreams into a reality by embarking on a simulated flight of the 1961 Mercury Liberty Bell 7 with astronaut and test pilot, Gus Grissom. The G-Force Astronaut Trainer will take visitors on an adrenaline filled ride that allows you to feel up to 2Gs.
Each ride can accommodate up to four guests, with each ticket priced at S$6 (Mon – Thu) and S$9 (Fri – Sun). Last ride at 6.45pm daily.
After all that space exploring, you’re probably going to be hungry. Why not purchase an ice-cream sandwich that astronauts get to eat when they are in space? This is probably going to be the first step to getting space ready.
You know you’re probably going to miss this experience, so why not bring home a piece of space with you. Check out the collection of NASA merchandise available to remind you of your dreams of making it into space.
Visiting NASA – A Human Adventure exhibition has taught me that dreams can be turned into reality if you work hard at it. Now I am wondering if I will one day ever make it to space. Till then I guess it’s better to be grounded in sunny Singapore.
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