A SPACE ODYSSEY

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Published on January 12, 2017 with No Comments

Space becomes that more tangible with a new exhibition at ArtScience Museum.

Words SURIANI ARIFF

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How do you tell the story of space travel that spans decades in a mere few hours? From manned space flights to space explorations, rocket science history and space technology, the NASA – A Human Adventure exhibition is a profound look into these and other accomplishments and the human story behind it.

The exhibition brings space storytelling to live, beginning from the early dreamers who dared to reach for the stars to the subsequent technology developed in space travel. Across five galleries in the ArtScience Museum, over 200 historically significant artefacts are on show, including many items which have flown in space. One of the exhibition’s centrepieces is a full scale construction of the front section of NASA’s iconic Space Shuttle. The massive exhibit enables visitors to see the flight deck, where astronauts fly the orbiter during actual launch and landings, and the middeck, where shuttle crew eat, sleep and work on experiments. The Space Shuttle was also the world’s first reusable spacecraft for transporting cargo to space and back.

There are also some of the most extraordinary innovations developed by NASA over the past decades, such as the Jupiter nose cone that was launched into space and later recovered from sea. The experimental nose cone has a covering which was developed to protect the nose from the tremendous heat generated during re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere, where temperatures could climb in excess of 1,000°C. These nose cones were key milestones in developing future re-entry vehicles that enabled manned space flights.

The exhibition also presents film shot by Apollo astronauts. From 1938 to 1972, NASA utilised Swedish-made Hasselblad cameras for its lunar operations. The astronauts left the cameras and lenses behind on the Moon upon departure to save weight. Only the film magazines returned, including three from Apollo 8, 12 and 17 programmes which are exhibited. One of the displayed film magazines was autographed and used by Eugene Andrew “Gene” Cernan, Commander of Apollo 17, on the last moon landing mission on December 1972.

Beyond revelling in the breakthroughs achieved by scientists and astronauts, visitors will also have the opportunity to embark on a simulated flight of the 1961 Mercury Liberty Bell 7 with astronaut and test pilot, Gus Grissom. The G-Force Astronaut Trainer ride takes visitors on a short but adrenaline-pumping ride as they withstand forces of up to 2G.

If you’ve been curious about what space sounds like, Indonesia Space Science Society, an added component to the exhibition commissioned by ArtScience Museum by Indonesian artist Venzha Christ, provides the answer. Based on the science of radio astronomy, Christ’s unique installation is an audio-visual treat. His three-metre long sculpture and mixed media installation enables visitors to see and hear radio waves from space. The installation presents radio waves sent and collected through radio antennas Christ has made, which gather precise data from astronomical objects in space. The transmitted signals received from the planets and stars are then visually displayed and decoded into an audible soundtrack within the gallery.

There are also a series of unique and engaging programmes – workshops, screenings, performances – that visitors can look forward to. “This is truly a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the spacecraft, rockets and technology that changed history and our understanding of our universe. (It’s) an extraordinary journey through 100 years of human space adventure, starting with the dreams of artists and writers, and culminating with engineering marvels that changed the world,” says Honor Harger, Executive Director, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

The exhibition runs from now until 19 March, 2017.

 

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Singapore 2x daily.

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