CSUs Coca-Cola Space Science Center Getting Major Facelift

A Nov. 25 grand reopening has been set for Columbus State Universitys Coca-Cola Space Science Center to showcase the next phase in the facilitys transformation into a more entertaining and more hands-on educational center.

The building closed Oct. 31 as employees began working on what will be the most dramatic change to the space center: a completely new, interactive lobby featuring seven different flight simulators.

In addition to a new entrance, the lobby will also feature:

  • A weather exhibit complete with a green screen for visitors to see themselves on television superimposed onto weather maps or any other background.
  • New remote-controlled rovers that traverse over a simulated Mars terrain.
  • A new, continually updated audio-visual program from NASAs Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute called ViewSpace that will play inside the centers space shuttle theater.
  • A display on infrared astronomy that will feature an infrared camera to produce thermograph images of visitors
  • An elaborate historical display of the space shuttle.
  • A childrens area for science story-telling and physics demonstrations.
  • Upgraded lighting and other effects throughout the building.

Space Center Executive Director Shawn Cruzen, a CSU professor of astronomy, is obviously excited about the changes coming to the center. But hes more excited about how everything is being developed with the Georgia Science Standards in mind.

Many visitors, especially the young ones, probably wont even realize their interest in math and science is being piqued while they are trying to land a space shuttle or maneuver over the rocks on Mars surface.

The theory behind everything weve done is to address middle-grade science standards, Cruzen said. Even the flight simulators are going to be tied into the educational mission of this facility.

When the Space Center re-opens on Nov. 25, new graphically superior shows will also be on the slated in the Omnisphere Theater.

A laser-powered system for the theater, called Digistar 3 Laser, is still in the works. That digital planetarium system will be powered by 16 computers to produce the highest resolution, single-lens video projection system in the world, and will make CSUs outreach center the first planetarium in the world to open to the public with this equipment. The system projects a 180 degree, hemispherical image on the Omnispheres 50-foot dome, creating an immersive environment. Digistar 3 Lasers ability to reproduce color exceeds any other visual display medium including motion picture film.

Until the new system is installed, the Ominisphere Theater will be upgraded to a Digistar 3 CRT system which still allows for stunning, 180 degree full dome video.

For more information, contact Shawn Cruzen at 649-1470.