Houston In The Cometary Crosshairs
Patricia Reiff returned from India just in time to destroy Houston. Actually, the culprit is an imaginary comet, and the razing of Rice's home city is only make-believe. For now.
Reiff, professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Rice Space Institute, was in India to install two Discovery Domes - completely immersive domed planetariums that utilize digital technology and can be installed in fixed facilities or in mobile, inflatable domes. The domes, which can bring lessons about the heavens to some of the more remote places on Earth have been dlievered to 75 locations on six continents since Reiff and her partners at the Houstom Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) built the first digital fixed dome in 1998 and the first portable one in 2003.
Out! Here Comes 'Impact Earth'
April 24, 2009
Earth opens at Houston Museum of Natural Science
of the Rice Space Institute with the Houston Museum of Natural
Science brings a new planetarium show about major impacts
to the fulldome screen. Members of the Rice Space Institute
and community members of the RSI-Associates are invited to
special screenings. See the RSI home page (rsi.rice.edu)
to sign up! The show opens at HMNS on May 1 and will be available
worldwide both for big domes and portable Discovery Domes.
AGU Scientists Host Teacher Workshop in Ethiopia
March 4, 2008
When you look at a map of the world showing the location of ground-based space physics instrumentation (radars, magnetometers, ionosondes, GPS dual-frequency receivers, and lidars), you quickly recognize Africa’s lack of space physics research infrastructure. One priority of the United Nations–sponsored International Heliophysical Year (IHY) is the development of such an infrastructure in Africa.
Immersive Earth project featured in Planetarian Magazine
Planetarian, Vol 34, No.
2, June 2005
from the Rice Space Institute in partnership with the Houston
Museum of Natural Science, are leadeing a NASA-funded project
to develop portable technology that will allow exciting new
"fully immersive" planetarium programs to be shown across
the country inside inflatable, classroom-sized domes. Immersive
Earth is a five-year $3.1 million project that brings together
six museums, two universities, and three companies to create
and distribute full-dome digital planetarium shows nationwide.
Immersive Earth aims for a wider audience through the development
of a small, fully portably system that uses an inflatable
dome and single-projector
display. The Immersive Earth grant will also pay for the
creation of three new programs: "Earth's Wild Ride, which
takes place in the year 2081, is now available; Earth
in the Balance; and Earth in Peril.
Wild Ride" now showing at HMNS and SOON in the portable
Houston Museum of Natural
Science, March 3, 2005
SHOWING: "Earth's Wild Ride" at the Houston
Museum of Natural Science. How would you describe the glories
of Earth to colonists born on the Moon who can see the blue
globe but can't go there? Take a virtual journey through
the dramatic places of earth in fulldome digital theater.
Soon will join our other fulldome digital shows available
in our portable planetariums.Our new "Discovery
Dome", with our "V-dome" vestibule entry, brings immersive
theater "on the road" to schools and other venues at a very
low cost. Contact Tara Oakes to
schedule the dome in the Houston area, and Hung
Pham for Northeast area shows and system sales.
"Earth Forum" becomes "Mars Forum" with Bill Nye
Houston Museum of Natural Science, January
"First Light" Live From Mars, from Passport to Knowledge, brought hundreds of kids and Bill Nye to showcase our software on live TV. Sponsored by NASA and NSF, this program highlighted the exciting new images from Spirit as Opportunity neared Mars. Click on thumbnail for larger image of Bill Nye, astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, and Orlando Figueroa with U-Tech students after the live show from "Earth Forum", redesignated "Mars Forum". Click here and here for more images from the live Mars events.
Burke Baker Planetarium exhibits offer fun for all ages
Houston Chronicle, January
OVER"! "Night of the Titanic", the most popular fulldome digital
show in the history of HMNS, has had its run extended by popular
demand. Click here for the article in the January 18 Houston Chronicle,
and click here for more information on this show.
Titanic Teaches Earth Science
OF THE TITANIC - THE WORLD'S FIRST FULLDOME DIGITAL EARTH SCIENCE
DOCUMENTARY IMMERSES YOU IN THE STORY (and the science!)
Carnegie show offers wild ride through nature
December 22, 2000
opening of FORCE 5 in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was
featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
New Earth Theater film lassos fury of storms
December 22, 2000
The opening of FORCE 5 in
the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was featured in an article
in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Click the image to download a PDF
version of that article.
|Revamped planetarium brings space closer to home
Houston Chronicle article
The addition of SkyVision's
Sky-Skan projection system to the Houston Museum of Natural Science's
Burke Baker Planetarium, creating the Globe Theater, was featured
in an article in the Houston Chronicle.
|Carolyn Sumners named to Top Irish Americans list
Irish America Magazine
Dr. Carolyn Sumners, the director
of astronomy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and co-director
of the "Public Connection" project, was recently named to a list of
top Irish Americans.
First Kiosk in the News
Houston Chronicle article October
LEVY - 9 kiosk went online in the Museum's Grand Hall October
19, 1994, and ran as a single stand-alone touchscreen module until
April 21, 1995. The grand opening was the subject of a Houston Chronicle
article "A Universe at your Fingertips", describing the project. SL9
was later joined by our modules SPACE WEATHER and EARTH TODAY. The
combined SPACE UPDATE project opened April 21, 1995, in the same kiosk.
It continues to serve over 300 visitors per day.
Opening - EARTH TODAY
Frank Billingsley's live weather
broadcast from the Kiosk July 19, 1995
The EARTH TODAY triple kiosk
opened July 20, 1995. It has three independent modules: WELCOME TO
PLANET EARTH, SPACE WEATHER and HOUSTON TODAY. HOUSTON TODAY includes
real-time data from a local network of 15 school-based weather stations,
and will soon include Houston environmental information. Of these,
four were paid for from this grant, and 11 from KPRC-TV (NBC Channel
2). Our "Grand Opening" was covered by two local television stations:
KPRC and KNWS (Channel 51, an independent news station). The image
shows Channel 2 weatherman Frank Billingsley making his live 6 p.m.
weather report from the kiosk on July 19, 1995.
young visitor to WELCOME TO PLANET EARTH
Quicktime movies of our press
coverage are available which give a good view of the triple kiosk
in action: KNWS-TV coverage (3.8MB);
KPRC 5 pm news
featuring SPACE WEATHER and HOUSTON TODAY (9.4 MB); KPRC
6 pm news featuring PLANET EARTH and HOUSTON TODAY (8.6 MB).
We were delighted to receive,
during the grand opening ceremonies, a certificate of recognition
from the Houston City Council, presented by Councilman Judge Peavy.
Recipients included Rice University, the Houston Museum of Natural
Science, and the Public Connection team. Representatives from Senator
Phil Gramm's office were also on hand for the festivities.
from RICE NEWS
Our project's grand opening
of EARTH TODAY was featured in a "Rice News" article September 27th,
1995. (Page 1, Page 2)
of Higher Education Article
Our project was also highlighted
in a recent "Chronicle of Higher Education" story "The Whole World,
on a Kiosk" featuring our project (September 22 issue, page A8).
13 Controllers Participate in Historic Mission
In September, we brought the
internet to Challenger Center simulations. The Houston Museum of Natural
Science premiered a new simulation "Back to the Moon", where the student
astronauts and student mission controllers land a space station "Legacy"
on the Moon. The first flight of "Legacy" occurred September 13, 1995,
with 19 veterans of Apollo 13 (including Flight Director Gene Kranz
and Capcom Joe Kerwin sitting in their old seats) helping the students
at Mission Control.
Chronicle article September 14, 1995
The astronauts who flew that
day in the "Legacy" were children and grandchildren of the controllers,
astronauts and scientists participating in the original Apollo 13.
Not surprisingly, we got extensive newspaper, radio and TV coverage
of this historic mission. (Click on the thumbnail to download the Houston Chronicle article). For page 2, click here.
Kranz as Flight Director
That mission was our first
Museum videoconference over the internet, with students at Rice University
participating as remote observers of the proceedings. Click Kranz's
image or here to download a
jpg screen capture of some of the participants of that first online
Challenger Center mission. As a result of that experiment, now students
staying at the home schools can watch and participate as their classmates
fly in space at the Museum.
from the Stratosphere
On October 12, 1995, students
in the Museum and across Texas participated in the "Live from the Stratosphere"
Jupiter Flight. Twenty students at Houston's Challenger Center
Mission Control fielded, sorted, and uplinked live to the Kuiper Observatory
questions received by Cu-SeeMe from over 400 students elsewhere in
the Museum and at 6 sites around Texas. The scientists and crew onboard
the Kuiper (including Rice PhD graduates Al Harper and Bob Loewenstein)
then answered their questions (and others from around the country)
on live TV, carried nationally by PBS and NASA Select. The project
was highlighted in the local press, including most of the local television
stations and two web articles "Face
to Face in Cyberspace" and "Students
Soar in Cyberspace at Houston Museum of Natural Science" on the
Houston Chronicle Interactive web site. Channel
13 (KTRK-TV) showed a special segment on their Sunday morning news
show. You can download
a quicktime movie of that news coverage (33 MB).
Trip To Mars
Astronaut Tom Jones leads KIPP Academy students Andrea Hill, Adam
Hill and Scott Sumners on a virtual tour of Mars during "Science Quest",
a live monthly television show brought to students by the Houston
Museum of Natural Science.