There are only 85 of them in the world and now one of them is in Colorado Springs. Science on a Sphere (SOS) promises to spark the love of science for the young and old at the new Space Foundation Visitor's Center set to open in October on Arrowswest Drive.
From the movement of ocean currents, to the daily pattern of planes in the sky, Science on a Sphere uses an ever growing group of more than 300 data sets to bring to life many different physical processes on the earth and on other planets. Stars, including the sun come to life too. Invented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers who describe Science on a Sphere as "a room sized, global display system", the Space Foundation is honored to bring the system to southern Colorado.
Iain Probert, Vice President of Education at the Space Foundation explains that there are no limits with SOS. "From the Earth, to the Moon, to Mars. You can depict where the Mars Rovers have been, where are they are and where they will be in the future. You can make it happen."
People standing for extended distances to view SOS at initial installations, caused some problems as Probert explains, "people were passing out. Standing up, looking higher…they were just keeling over, left, right and center!" There is tiered seating around the sphere at the Space Foundation.
Advanced engineering using computers brings the science to life as four projectors work in harmony to project the images on a hovering six foot diameter sphere that will provide customized hands-on lessons for each K-12 grade level in the Northrop Grumman Science Center. Probert notes that the Space Foundation education staff is "creating unique lessons that address specific Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) state standards for each grade level. The students will experience the standard in a presentation using Science on a Sphere and then go into our workshop for a hands-on activity that will also teach to the standard."
Inspiration doesn't come cheap and Russell Anarde with Northrop Grumman expressed the companies reason for gifting a large amount to the Space Foundation for the Science on a Sphere project. "This was right in our wheel house and we saw this as a natural match. Its about students, its about teachers and its about the community." Northrop Grumman's demand for a workforce strong in the STEM fields. He realizes that the "spark" for the next generation of space industry professionals may happen because of the this new tool. "Don't let it go, don't let this be an isolated moment. Take and share this experience, and grow it."
The Northrop Grumman Science at the Space Foundation Visitor Center will open October 9th. For more information, visit the Space Foundation website.