Ever since ancient times man has been fascinated by what lies beyond- in space.
Here is a list of ten great sites to explore space on earth –
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum , Washington, D.C.: Encounter fabulous displays and artefacts from manned missions to outer space including engines, rockets, spacesuits, manuscripts and photos, and historical documents. The highlight is the Apollo Lunar Module – the 2-stage vehicle designed to ferry two astronauts from lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back.
- Cape Canaveral, Florida: visit the Kennedy Space Center, located on a wildlife refuge 8 times the size of Manhattan. It’s a hub of technology and discovery.Tour up close NASA’s launch and landing facilities, experience interactive simulators, and have jaw-dropping encounters with massive rockets.
- Space Center Houston, Texas: Watch astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, land a shuttle, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s manned space flight program.
- Roswell, New Mexico. This is now world famous for a mysterious UFO incident in 1947. Eye witnesses claim to have spotted aliens in a UFO crash landing just outside the town. A Roswell newspaper reported the crash and the military quickly closed the area and the event became shrouded in secrecy. Drop in at the Roswell UFO Museum & Research Center
- Puerto Rico: Experience the largest radio observatory and radio telescope on the planet at Arecibo. Operated by Cornell University, the telescope was built in 1963 and is deployed to probe the ionosphere. You can meet SETI Project Scientists who research alien life forms by studying planets and monitoring natural radio emissions from distant galaxies, pulsars and quasars.
- The Cosmonautics Museum, Moscow: Housed in the base of a 100m high titanium obelisk dedicated to the “Conquerers of Space”, you can relive the glory days of Sputnikand the Soviet space programme, taking in cosmic space paraphernalia along the way – from Yuri Gagarin’s space suit, to the first Soviet rocket engine, expedition charts, and awe-inspiring footage from orbit missions.
Nearby Star City in Moscow is home of the Russian space programme and once a top secret location. Nowadays it’s open to the public and you can try out simulated moon walking, tour a replica of the Mir Space Station and get to experience zero gravity in a special jet, used to train cosmonauts .This is Russia’s only “School of Cosmonauts” and one of the most enduring symbols of its quest beyond Earth.
- Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London : This is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World, making it the official starting point for each new day and year. This is also the location of London’s only planetarium, the Harrison Timekeepersand the UK’s largest refracting telescope. You can visit the rooms occupied by the first Astronomer Royal in the 17th century, guide a simulated space mission, and touch a meteorite which is over 4.5 billion years old.
- Barringer Meteor Crater, Arizona, US . Created 49,000 years ago it is estimated that a meteor 100’ in diameter slammed into the ground at 45,000 mph. The crater so closely resembles those on the moon that it is used for astronaut training. Learn about the long duration of space travel at one of the most complex scientific experiments of all time at the Biosphere Space Imagery Centre
- Mauna Kea Hawaii: This is a giant moonlike crater on Hawaii’s Big Island used to train astronauts about navigating lunar landscapes.
- Gemini Telescopes, Chile
The high altitude Atacama Desert is home to of one of the twin giant 8 metre Gemini telescopes. Fantastic close ups of the stars, moons and planets can be seen. The other twin is at Cerro Pachon in Chile – also positioned in the midst of unbelievable mountain scenery.