Please welcome Serena from Bewildered Bug with a fun Guest Post on the Ontario Science Centre’s new exhibit Beyond Planet Earth! Thanks Serena!
I remember when I first started visiting Canada as a pre-teen how different Toronto was. I used to come with my family to stay by my Aunts’ homes in Scarborough, and the one thing we all looked forward to was driving out to the Ontario Science Centre! I remember I used to think the drive was SO LONG and that the Ontario Science Centre was in the middle of NOWHERE. I used to wonder why they built it so far from everywhere, and think that it was probably for the best, else they wouldn’t be able to have the beautiful gardens to look at while on the escalators into the exhibits.
No matter how many times we went there as children, we would insist on staying ALL DAY, playing with everything we could get our hands on and re-living the visit prior and our favourite exhibits. I used to think the building was so huge that I would never be able to get out on my own. Ontario Science Centre holds so many memories for me – and even though I now know exactly where it is, and though it is in the middle of uptown civility instead of being surrounded by natural and wild shrubbery as I used to imagine it being, it still brings joy and knowledge to so many to this day!
The Ontario Science Centre is a perfect example of good, wholesome family fun that has outlasted the generations and which changes to suit the generations. They update their displays, exhibits and information constantly as science continually corrects and updates itself. In this spirit, the Ontario Science Centre has decided to open and exhibit called “Beyond Planet Earth”. I am sure you can figure out what it is all about – that’s right – outer space; more specifically, human habitation in outer space.
I had an opportunity to preview this exhibit and I have to tell you it is something to see. I am usually not that interested in space technology, but this exhibit did have a few things that caught my eye. I liked that the exhibit went from the past to the future – it showed how space travel and habitation occurred in the past, technologies being used today and technologies being considered for the future. My favourite exhibits were )and I warn you some of these are my names for the exhibits and not necessarily the proper names) the “space elevator”, the piece of the asteroid that was on display, the fashion-forward space suit and the information on terraforming on the planet Mars.
The space elevator was this huge hexagonally based structure with a long shoot (almost like a flower stem) shooting out from it. Yes that is my layman’s description. Basically, this humongous structure is being designed to be placed on the moon. The base of the structure is about 500m across and the part that shoots out is the elevator shaft as such. The elevator shaft will be pulled towards the earth by gravity and will be long enough to traverse the space between the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and the moon. The idea is that we can start selling vacations to the moon in this manner.
At the moment, for about $200,000 USD you can book a flight on Richard Branson’s planes that will take you just to the edge of space and back. The plan is to use this type of plane to take you to the edge of space where you would then go onto the elevator which will take you to your resort on the moon. An interesting concept….if you had $200, 000 to spare. I hope I’m alive when this actually becomes affordable – because I’d love to be able to say I went on vacation on the moon. Oh, and yes, they do plan to train you to live and function in no-gravity conditions – after all, you will need to learn to sleep, eat and perform normal bodily functions in a very different manner.
The asteroid on display was interesting, not because of the way it looked, but because it is an actual piece of an asteroid that is older than our universe itself! It was sorta cool being able to feel this asteroid, just because it’s so old that it pre-dates our proven scientific theories of the beginnings of the universe. Yes, that’s my little bit of excited nerd coming out. Other than that it just looks like a dark piece of rock – and feels smooth and cool……but yes, that small piece of rock still excited me. Okay?! Leave me be!
The fashion forward space suit (my words) was gorgeous – I could actually see someone walking down the road in a similar jumpsuit in a similar material. Seriously, it’s gorgeous – and functional too! With the press of a button, you would adjust the fit and pressure on a specific part of the body as needed in various conditions. I was joking with one of the other ladies that if they ever made a jumpsuit like this for us, we would want the adjustable part to be at our bellies -for some Spanx-like belly control all in one jumpsuit. I’d buy it!
The last thing intrigued me the most, possibly because I had so many concerns about it. You may have heard that the space scientist people (NASA? Whoever…) have been considering Mars to possibly be an alternative world for humans should we be careless enough to destroy our own planet. Well this is the theory of how it may be able to be altered to suit our needs. You must all have heard about the greenhouse effect on earth that is changing our climates and our weather, and therefore our world. Well, while we are trying to eliminate it on Earth, our scientists are thinking of forcing it to happen on Mars. Sounds weird, I know. Basically, it will be called terraforming – by introducing the greenhouse effect, it is assumed that Mars would act similarly to Earth – it would warm up – and by doing this, it would start making the planet more habitable for humans – by releasing water into the atmosphere and allowing it to settle on the surface of Mars. Then, they plan to introduce small microorganisms and plant-life to help transform the atmosphere into a more breathable atmosphere. They plan to settle it and then develop it. This of course will take thousands of years before we can have any type of life similar to what we have on Earth today, but still it brings up lots of questions. Will we just be destroying another planet? What if there are lifeforms there that rely on the atmosphere to exist? Is it right to just decide that our planet is destroyed and move on like a flock of locusts? So many questions in my head about that one…
Anyway, my point is that there is a lot to learn at the Ontario Science Centre and the Beyond Planet Earth exhibit is one not to miss if you’re there – your older children (9 years or older I guess?) would be sure to love it and you will too. It is definitely a fun and educations family outing full of the nostalgia of the older exhibits and the excitement of the new! Hop on over and let me know what you found fascinating!
Serena is a 30-something, PR-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, “smug-married”, self-proclaimed people-watching allergy-queen just trying to navigate this obstacle course called life. Her blog, Bewildered Bug, is her attempt to relay her everyday experiences. Feel free to contact her there, on Facebook or on Twitter.