An Astronomical Experience
A Look at the Interactive and Educational Activities at Space Center Houston
Houston, Texas is the heart of America’s space program. Even in the abundance of space hubs and museums, the nonprofit Space Center Houston stands apart.
“We are a science and space learning center. Our mission is to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration,” says Meridyth Moore, the Public Relations Specialist. People from all over the world come here to visit and Space Center Houston is the No.1 destination in Houston for international visitors. “I think everyone’s really interested to learn about the future of the space program.”
More than 400 things are on display at the center, from flown spacecraft to new hands-on exhibits to exciting films on a giant screen. Take one of the tram tours to get a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson Space Center. Don't miss the Historic Mission Control, where NASA monitored Apollo 11’s trip to the moon. “You’ll sit in an observation room and look out through the glass at a national historic landmark.” Watch live shows that educate and entertain, igniting imagination and interest with charismatic hosts and audience participation.
“Many areas of the museum are interactive,” says Moore. For example, the Living in Space module gives you the chance to experience how astronauts eat, sleep and go about their daily lives while in space. You can even step aboard the shuttle replica in the international landmark Independence Plaza. “It’s the only one in the world where you can enter a shuttle replica mounted on top of the original shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905.”
But of all the fascinating attractions, Moore speaks the highest of Starship Gallery. “It can be overlooked and it’s really one of the most spectacular areas of the museum,” she says. “It’s really something you shouldn’t miss.” Among other things, there’s a timeline of the history of space exploration, the actual Apollo 17 command module, and the lunar volt. “You can actually touch a piece of the moon in there. It’s one of only eight places in the world where you can actually touch the moon.”
Space Center Houston’s main goal is to educate and inspire interest in space. Moore says, “Space Center Houston is the No.1 place to come to be involved in science, technology, engineering, and math.” That’s why they also offer field trips, day camps and the special five-day intensive program, Space Center U™. Children from all over the world come to these programs and learn about everything space exploration can offer, from Newton’s Laws of Motion to robotics. “We hope that by coming here and engaging in hands-on experiences it will encourage youth to become the next generation of space explorers.”
For the real space enthusiast, though, few things can top meeting a real astronaut. Astronaut Fridays showcase retired astronauts talking about their lives. “They share lots of fun space adventures,” she says. Or for a more personal encounter, you can have Lunch with an Astronaut. Limited to 50 people, you and your family will get the chance to sit down and actually converse with an astronaut as they visit with each table. “Lunch with an Astronaut is a great way to enhance your experience. You’ll get to meet one-on-one with an astronaut.”
Regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll certainly leave with a better appreciation of science and both the history and future of space exploration. Moore states, “There’s something for people of all ages at Space Center Houston.”
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, ALLISON BENNETT
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