Destination Mars: The New Frontier – Watch the Trailer

Ever wonder what it would be like to fly to Mars? NASA – and others – have their sights set on the Red Planet and they’re building the technology to get us there! Destination Mars: The New Frontier gives you an up-close look at humanity’s most epic endeavor.

Explore the work being done around the globe to help make the dream of getting humans to Mars a reality. Fly through the International Space Station, where astronauts are already living and working in space, and follow the rockets and vehicles that will take humans beyond the Moon and, one day, all the way to Mars! Travel along as we imagine this remarkable journey.


Narrated by former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison and Emmy-award winning actor Keith David. Includes original music by Claudio Ragazzi, a Grammy Award-winning professor at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

  • Running time is 30 minutes.
  • Available for unidirectional and concentric dome formats.
  • Suitable for family audiences and school groups. Includes a comprehensive educator’s guide.
  • Distributed by Sky-Skan, Spitz, K2 Studios, and Loch Ness Productions.

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under grant number NNX16AM21G. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the Museum of Science, Boston and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Exploring Render Engines for Fulldome Production

In recent years, the 3D industry went from very little support of fisheye rendering and now every modern render engine fully embraces it. I think we can thank the rise of VR for helping to shine a light on immersive production.

We recently had a chance to upgrade the render engine that we use in Maya for producing our fulldome shows. We were also able to add some computers to our old 10-node render farm. Many thanks to the Charles Hayden Foundation for the grant that made this vital tech leap possible.

With the recent introduction of GPU render engines, things are a bit more convoluted when considered alongside CPU render engines. Yet each render engine is unique and excels at different aspects, so it makes comparing them tricky work.

And so I thought it would be useful to hear from the fulldome community…

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Expedition to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

We recently traveled to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to gather reference imagery for our planetarium show production about human spaceflight to Mars. What an epic trip!

It was surreal to walk inside of the Vehicle Assembly Building and travel up to the 37th floor of this incredibly huge single-story building. Currently the VAB is being retrofitted so that the SLS rocket can be vertically assembled within. This retrofit includes special motorized platforms which can be moved into place according to the needs of the project at hand.

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NASA Grant – Jackson Hole Finalist – Boston Globe Article

NASA Grant: Planetarium Show

A while back we applied for a NASA grant and we’ve been patiently waiting to hear the results… And we are thrilled to announce that we have been selected! We are one of nine organizations chosen from 73 applications through a peer-reviewed process.

The two-year NASA grant will enable us to capture the excitement of the next generation’s moonshot — the human journey to Mars and back. We will create two educational experiences that will bring to life the engineering skills and team spirit fueling this historic pioneering endeavor. So stay tuned…

AS12-49-7278-webImage Source: NASA Project Apollo Archive

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Interviews at IMERSA 2016 – Recent Challenges

It’s been fascinating to see IMERSA evolve and mature over the last few years. And since things are moving so fast, I wanted to document the challenges being faced in the immersive community with a series of interviews.

Last year at IMERSA there were nervous murmurings of VR, but this year there is clear excitement. It’s particularly interesting to see fulldome producers realize that they already possess the tools, skills, and ultra high resolution workflows to create polished VR experiences.

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IMERSA Summit 2016: Presentations We’re Giving

imersa-logo-squareWe are going to be at the upcoming IMERSA Summit and sharing several presentations. With so much that’s been happening lately in the immersive community, it’s bound to be an exciting conference this year. David, Heather, and I will each be on different panels and giving presentations. Hope you can check out what we’ve been working on!

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Upcoming Special Events in the Planetarium


EinsteinsPlayground-ASlowerSpeedofLight
Image Source: A Slower Speed of Light

Einstein’s Playground

— February 11, 2016 /// 7:15pm
— Gerd Kortemeyer, PhD, associate professor of physics at Michigan State University

Have you ever wanted to experience the complete distortion of time and space as we know it? The Charles Hayden Planetarium has partnered with the MIT Game Lab to immerse you in a virtual special relativity playground where you’ll witness the laws of physics in a completely new way. Using the power of video games, we’ll turn Einstein’s most famous theory from an abstract concept into something you can encounter yourself right here at the Museum of Science. Experience the effects of movement, time, and space as you’ve never been able to before!

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Using Real Pluto Imagery – From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA

In producing From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA we made the exciting but perilous decision to include the New Horizons mission within our story. So we made an early bet that the mission would be a success…

As you well know, New Horizons has given us an amazing close-up look at Pluto. And so we are excited to announce that we have updated the show to include the latest real images of Pluto and Charon!

Blueprint to Blastoff: Free Engineering Materials for the Planetarium or Classroom

Talia-Bio-PhotoWe are offering 3 distinct educational modules, focusing on aspects of spacecraft engineering, to anyone with a planetarium or classroom who would like to use them. They supplement, but are independent of our newest show From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA and are being shared free of charge.

This article was written by Talia Sepersky. She currently works as a planetarium educator at the Charles Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science, Boston.

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