Above: renderings depict planned improvements to our Gallery.
Exploring the Moon, Mars and Beyond
Make the Universe Your Playground!
Space Quest invites you to celebrate the spirit of exploration through state-of-the-art, interactive exhibit components that highlight NASA Langley Research Center’s role in the past, present, and future of space exploration. Inspect a Mars rock, attempt a landing on the Moon with a lunar simulator, and train for a lunar mission, all without leaving the Space Quest Gallery.
Space Quest: Exploring the Moon, Mars and Beyond is presented by Langley Federal Credit Union.
Mars and the Moon
Curious about how we have learned so much about Mars? Here is your “Opportunity” to check out models of spacecraft that NASA sent to Mars as part of the Mars Exploration Program – the Viking Orbiter, Viking Lander, and Opportunity Rover. Managed by NASA Langley Research Center, the Viking Project’s objective was to investigate Mars. The Orbiter was designed to work in conjunction with the Viking Lander, relaying information to Earth. You can learn more about the Viking Mars program as well as other Mars missions with full-scale models of the Viking Lander, the first explorer, and the Mars Exploration Rover, a subsequent Mars exploration mission offering a detailed look at the past, present, and future of Mars exploration. Gaze upon a Mars meteorite and examine a three-billion-year-old moon rock, just one small piece of the Goodwill rock acquired on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Train for a moon landing, see an original lunar landing trainer, and then try your hand at landing on the moon in a lander simulator.
Humans have been working and living in space since the 1970s. Space stations have played an important role in space exploration by providing long-term labs for research. This exhibit highlights some of the science pursued in space-based laboratories, Including Earth observation, materials science, human adaptation to microgravity, and space biology. Visitors can compare and contrast scale models of Sky Lab, Mir, and the International Space Station as they review graphic panels that illustrate the past, present, and future of these space labs.
The Solarium at VASC: Reaching New Heights will immerse students, teachers, preservice teachers, and life-long learners into the Sun’s atmosphere and give them an up-close and personal look into the world of Heliophysics (the study of the sun and its interactions with the Earth) and helioseismology (the study of the propagation of wave oscillations in the Sun). Journey into the Sun’s atmosphere and explore the unique features of the Sun, creating an out-of-this-world experience. Be mesmerized by the Sun’s dancing atmosphere while you are standing next to, and listening to, the sounds of the Sun!
The images used by the Solarium were taken and recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which can take a picture almost once per second. The SDO is able to capture these wavelengths of light, varying from ultraviolet (invisible to the naked eye) to visible light. Once the SDO captures these images, it sends data in the form of binary (0’s and 1’s) back to scientists who then translates the data into the images seen at the Solarium. The images that are produced have the resolution of eight times that of an HD TV and are turned into a time-lapse video. VASC will work with the Solarium’s creator, Genna Duberstein, an award-winning multimedia producer at NASA GSFC, to design and implement the very first full Solarium display. This exhibit will cover more than three walls of a designated area at the Center and will use the classic ambient sounds of the sun produced by real sun data.
Exploration Station Neighborhood Earth: A history
Our newest exhibit, Exploration Station, an 80-inch touchscreen, presents the latest in media visualizations and datasets from all four of the sciences in a mini-theater, and explains how all of Earth is one connected neighborhood when you look at it from NASA’s viewpoint in space. Visitors explore our home planet like a NASA scientist, discovering how satellite technology provides clues about the life, air and water around us. The exhibit is highly interactive, with several digital and hands-on activities focused on ice cores, fresh water availability, active sensing, agriculture, and more. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a multi-sensory touch experience that lets visitors discover how air, water, and life intersect across the world through NASA visualizations. The exhibit focuses on the field observations visitors can upload for atmosphere, biosphere, pedosphere and hydrosphere, to help NASA expand what we know about the Earth system.
Exploration Station was developed by the The Goddard Visitor Center.