"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".
"HELD 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.
The opening of FORCE 5 in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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.
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
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.
Our SHOEMAKER 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.
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.
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.
Our project's grand opening of EARTH TODAY was featured in a "Rice News" article July 27, 1995. (Page 1, Page 2)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).