This article was originally published in NEXT Pittsburgh.
The Carnegie Science Center launches a new space adventure exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 19, when it opens Mars: The Next Giant Leap. Along with the newly opened Moonshot Museum, the North Side has become the go-to location to learn about space exploration.
The Science Center’s new 7,400-square-foot permanent exhibition examines issues of sustainability, climate change, social justice and equitable access to resources that can influence the future of both the Red Planet and Earth.
According to Jason Brown, director of the Science Center, the new exhibit will provide engaging perspectives on space exploration and explain why it’s essential today.
The $4.48 million project, which replaces Roboworld on the second floor, aims to complement the Buhl Planetarium and Science Center’s vast array of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programming. The mission is to motivate students to engage in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math).
“The goal of Mars: The Next Giant Leap is to appeal to broad audiences and spark dialogue well beyond their visit, whether it leads them to think about space exploration, important social issues, or STEM careers they can pursue,” Brown said in a statement.
Mars: The Next Giant Leap will offer seven zones demonstrating different elements of inhabiting and maintaining a habitable climate on Mars: View from Mars, Climatology, Martian Garden, Martian Living, Dream Big: Space, Pittsburgh in Mars and Search for Life.
The Pittsburgh in Mars section will enable visitors to learn about the first steps toward living on Mars and how the Steel City plays a role in space research.
Martian Garden showcases food sustainability, the management of resources that would need to occur on the Red Planet, and the process it would take to grow and harvest food in the new world.
“This exhibit will not be cut-and-dry historical facts about Mars,” said Marcus Harshaw, the science center’s senior director of museum experiences, in a statement. “Visitors will operate remote-controlled Martian rovers to track down water sources, collectively vote on the direction of an imagined Martian settlement, and discover how to adjust popular food recipes on Earth to make comparable meals on Mars.”