New 3-D view of space at StenniSphere

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK, COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a science lesson you can't get from a text book. "Science on A Sphere" offers a three dimensional tour of the universe without the long space flight.

Nathan Sovik with Stennis Space Center said, "It's a sphere made out of carbon fiber. It's almost six foot in diameter, and it's linked to a computer system which drives four projectors. Aand the imagine that you see on this sphere is created by those computers through those four projectors."

The images you see are taken from satellites and projected on the Sphere screen in nearly real time. Visitors get information about the earth and the planets that surround it.

"The depth of the ocean as well as the height of the mountains, so it gives you both the elevations and depths of the entire globe," Sovik said. "Here's something you don't see very often, this is a map of lightning strikes for the course of a year. Most of the lightning is happening in the South and Central regions."

This map shows how many airplanes are in the sky nation-wide.

"As an agency what we're looking to do is generate interest in our missions at NASA, and so the astronomical objects that we display hopefully will get kids enthusiastic about exploration," Sovik said.

Judging from these second grade students, the sphere hits a home run.

West Side Elementary School student Justin Friscella said, "That was awesome!"

"It's really cool," said Grace Carberge, a student at Picayune's West Side Elementary School.

The new sphere joins more than 50 other interactive exhibits on display at NASA's StenniSphere.

The Technology was developed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Stennis is now home to one of only 36 of the devices in the entire world. The entertaining educational tool comes with a price tag of about 180-thousand dollars.

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