Sponsored by the NASA REASoN Program | Office of Earth Science | 2004 - 2010


Houston In The Cometary Crosshairs
October 2009

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.

Look Out! Here Comes Impact Earth
April 24, 2009

Impact Earth opens at Houston Museum of Natural Science

A partnership 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
Eos, Vol. 89, No. 10, 4 March 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

Researchers 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.

"Earth's Wild Ride" now showing at HMNS and SOON in the portable domes!
Houston Museum of Natural Science, March 3, 2005

NOW 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.