Space Explorer Gallery

The universe is at your fingertips in the new Space Explorer Gallery! Come explore our solar system and beyond in this state-of-the-art exhibit space designed for the whole family to enjoy! 

Exploring the Moon, Mars, and Beyond


The new Space Explorer Gallery invites you to celebrate the spirit of exploration through state-of-the-art, interactive exhibit components that explore our solar system and highlight NASA Langley Research Center’s role in the past, present, and future of space exploration. Without even leaving the Space Explorer Gallery you will be able to learn about gravity and how it affects objects within our solar system, learn the difference between mass and weight – discovering how your weight may be different on other planets, and explore the life cycle of a star!


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. Try your hand at landing on the Moon and Mars, even see if you have what it takes to live on Mars!


Make the Universe Your Playground

Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the planet that we call home. Discover where Earth is located (and just how small it really is) within our galaxy. The Solar System Explorer can help you delve further into the Earth’s immediate surroundings, such as the other planets and moons that are close by – even study orbital paths that keep all of these objects from bumping into each other. Did you know that our Sun is a star? Use the Stellar Playground to demonstrate habitable zones for planets like ours, even go further by creating a black hole and watching its effect on your solar system. Do you know what would happen if Earth were a little close to or a little farther from the Sun? Find out with Planetary Bombardment!