by Michelle Mock
California - On October 31st, Disneyland
Resort launched the new
American Space Experience™ NASA Exhibit in
Tomorrowland™. When the doors opened on
Halloween, guests were treated to several new displays.
The focal point is a revolving Mars
Exploration Rover (MER), a mock-up of one of
two rovers set to pilot across the surface of the Red
Planet. Surrounding the base of the rotating
display are an artist's
renditions of the landing sequence.
Like the Mars Pathfinder, which is
still on display in the exhibit, MER will use the airbag
method for landing.
January 2003, scientists and engineers will be gathering
in Pasadena, California to make final recommendations for
the landing sites of the two
rovers that will be launched towards Mars next summer.
Scientists and engineers will work closely together to
determine which sites may yield the greatest scientific
return while taking into consideration the engineering
constraints and safety of the rovers. Four possible landing
sites still under consideration at this time are
Hematite, Gusev, Isidis and Elysium. All are
located near the Martian equator.
Exploration Rover sits atop a revolving stand.
|A photograph of
Apollo astronauts collecting moon rocks forms a
backdrop for the actual moon rock on display.
This rock was one of the ones brought back from
the moon and is a sample of breccia.
Another photograph, courtesy of Malin Space
Science Systems, shows "gullies"
on Mars that seem to show relatively recent water
erosion. This photograph came from the Mars Global
Surveyor spacecraft which has been
imaging and gathering data from Mars orbit since
that always generates interest is aerogel.
Aerogel is a very interesting material which is
almost as light as air. Observed from
different angles, aerogel takes on different
transparent colors. It may be pale blue,
amber or even invisible! A highly
insulating material, aerogel has different
purposes. It will be used to insulate the
MER spacecraft, and is currently used by the
Stardust Mission to collect particles of a comet
and then later return those samples to Earth.
|The new exhibit
also includes two new scale models. Nestled
between the aerogel and moon rock displays is a
model of the Mars Odyssey
spacecraft, which launched
in April 2001, and is currently orbiting Mars,
returning incredible photographs and science data.
The second model is a replica of the Deep Space
Network's 34-meter antenna represents one of the
many antennas that will be used to track MER
during its interplanetary journey and mission.
Another 34-meter antenna, in use within the DSN,
is the Goldstone Apple
Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT).
This antenna is used in education, allowing
students who are learning about radio astronomy
to actually control a real radio telescope (34-meter
antenna) to collect science data about objects in
complement the exhibit. A live NASA TV feed
enables guests to view launches, landings or
Internet webcasts in real-time. A satellite
view of California shows the location of
Disneyland. Guests can still step on a
scale to find out how much they weigh on another
planet, or see if they have the "right stuff"
to be an astronaut.
Disneyland continues to
make Tomorrowland™ a place where, in Walt Disney's
words, "youth may savor the challenge and the
promise of the future". The American Space
Experience™ exhibit continues to inspire and
challenge the youth of today who will be the ones who
continue exploring and dreaming well into the future of
To all who come to
this happy place: welcome.
Disneyland is your
Here, age relives
fond memories of the past,
and here youth may
savor the challenge and promise of the future.
dedicated to the ideals, the dreams,
and the hard facts
that have created America...
with the hope that it
will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.
~ Walt Disney,
17 July 1955
Exploration Rover http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/
Landing Sites http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/
Deep Space Network http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/
NASA TV http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/
THEMIS Images http://themis.la.asu.edu/latest.html
Mars Global Surveyor http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/
MER Animations http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/video/animation.html
MER Flight Trajectories http://athena.cornell.edu/the_mission/fp_cruise.html
Maas (an interview with the
creator of the Mars Rover animation)
Lewis Center for Education http://lewiscenter.org/force/1112/subprojects/article_1.php
Debunking the Hoax http://badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html
[Disneyland closed the
doors on the American Space Experience (NASA Exhibit) on October 26th 2003.]
photographs © The Walt Disney Company
webpage is not an official document of the Walt Disney
- 1 November 2002