Space Age Appropriate
by Alyssa Grossman, 03/28/2012
Hubble Telescope diorama. © AMNH\R. Mickens
American Museum of Natural History
If your kids think they already know everything about space, head over to the American Museum of Natural History to check out Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, open through August 12. There, you'll find a futuristic take on potential upcoming missions and get an insider's look at the ideas that have top scientists and engineers all abuzz. Settle into the Solar System Theater to put it all into perspective, then make your way through a series of forward-thinking displays.
At one station, guests gaze at a 3-D replica of Itokawa, a near-Earth asteroid, and use a touch screen to explore different ways to stop an asteroid's destructive path. In "Voyaging to Mars," visitors get acquainted with the red planet through mini models of how eating, sleeping and exercising would work in the weightlessness of space. Those feeling ambitious can try out "terraforming," or altering Mars to make it more livable for humans. It all wraps up with a glimpse at possible life on yet-to-be studied planets. Be sure to check the events page for Hayden Planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, for details about upcoming events and a special space show seven days a week.