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New exhibition explores the sights and sounds of space

Opening to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, the new exhibition Hello Universe is an interactive journey through the sights and sounds of space.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and the crew of the Apollo 11 mission broadcasting live from the Moon. The National Science and Media Museum’s summer family exhibition Hello Universe (19 July 2019 – 22 January 2020) takes an interactive look at how information from the cosmos has been recorded over hundreds of years, and in particular the five decades of space exploration that followed Armstrong’s momentous ‘giant leap’ in 1969.

The exhibition’s journey starts with Galileo Galilei’s hand drawings of the Moon from the 17th century; it takes in the significant role played by a Bradfordian in the 1969 Moon landing story; and looks at the image and sound technologies that allow the depths of the universe to be explored in greater detail than ever before.

Exhibition curator Annie Jamieson said:

“Throughout history there’s evidence of humankind’s fascination with the Moon and stars, which has led us to today’s exploration of the furthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. This exhibition looks at the incredible technology that’s been developed to allow us to see, hear and even smell space, as well as offering families the chance to interact with out-of-this-world demonstrations and activities.”

Galileo was one of the first people to view the Moon through a telescope, making highly detailed drawings of what he saw. These will be on display in an original copy of his 1610 book ‘Starry Messenger’. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to compare their own attempts with Galileo’s, as well as view one of the world’s earliest astronomical books.

The exhibition goes on to focus on arguably the highlight of human lunar activity—the 1969 Apollo 11 flight and Moon landing—and specifically how technology was developed to transmit live pictures a quarter-of-a-million miles back to earth. It includes the role of Mike Dinn, born and educated in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who emigrated to Australia and played a significant part in this event. In 1969 he was Deputy Director at the Honeysuckle Creek communications station in Canberra, the facility which received the images of Armstrong’s historic moment and made them available for broadcast across the earth’s TV networks.

Also featured are a range of objects related to space travel from the 1960s to the present day, from the personal collection of Mark Wrigley from Sheffield, a trustee of the Institute of Physics. His interest in science and technology stemmed from watching the 1969 event live on television as a schoolboy. He filmed the screen with a Super 8 camera, in the days before domestic TV recording technology existed, and this footage will also be displayed alongside items of memorabilia.

Interactive elements include building LEGO spacecrafts, top stargazing tips from the West Yorkshire Astronomical Society, and a chance to create a bulletin in the style of the Arecibo interstellar radio message which was transmitted from earth in 1974. Displays include a half-size scale model (2.3m x 1m) of Viking, NASA’s first Mars lander, and the latest, most detailed images of the cosmos projected onto a 5m x 3m screen, giving families the chance to journey through the solar system and beyond, looking at the ways stars and planets are viewed and understood.

Data from NASA’s Pioneer, Voyager and Cassini missions demonstrate how much information we have received from space over the past 40 years, and photographs from NASA’s Voyager probes will be included in the exhibition, on loan from the National Space Centre.

Mike Dinn will be live via Skype for a screening of The Dish (2000), starring Sam Neill and telling the story of the images being received in Australia when NASA discovered the station in California could have problems with positioning (20 July 2019, 17.30, National Science and Media Museum).

Space travel is also a key strand of the Bradford Science Festival which takes place at various venues across the city centre, 18–21 July 2019.


Notes for editors

For interviews, images, and any other requests please contact: Phil Oates, National Science and Media Museum, / 01274 203 317

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

Part of the Science Museum Group