See space artefacts at exhibition

Exhibition on space exploration will display 200 artefacts from the American and Russian space programmes

If you have ever wondered why outer space has been so fascinating for mankind, the largest space flight exhibition in Singapore will feed some of that curiosity.

Nasa - A Human Adventure, which runs at the ArtScience Museum till March next year, boasts more than 200 artefacts from the American and Russian space programmes, with space- flown items as well as full-scale replicas of spacecraft and paraphernalia on display.

Nasa stands for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States' space agency.

The majority of the exhibits are on loan from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama. The exhibition also details Nasa's accomplishments in space exploration and the space race between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The museum has organised one-hour guided tours for the public to discover the story of space exploration and man's innovations in the field. Families can check out the hour-long Space Quest workshops, where participants can design space mission patches for spacesuits and learn about spatial awareness.

Created by Dutch company John Nurminen Events in 2010, the show has travelled to nine countries, including Sweden and South Korea. The Straits Times looks at some of the exhibition's highlights.


10 highlights of Nasa exhibition

1 JUPITER ROCKET NOSE CONE


Jupiter rocket nose cone. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

This space-flown nose cone of a Jupiter rocket was retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean. According to Mr Jukka Nurminen, chief executive of John Nurminen Events and the exhibition's curator, an American couple walking on the shore in Florida found it.

The nose cone is one of the first to use a heat shield developed from ceramic to protect the tip of the rocket from the large amount of heat generated upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. These temperatures were known to reach above 1,000 deg C.

2 SPACE FOOD


Space food. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Unsurprisingly, space food does not look appetising. They are practical almost to a fault. Bread cubes form the carbs of a day's meal, coffee comes in a tube and mashed potato in cans.

The types of food reveal the differences between the American and Russian diets. Bacon and apple sauce were provided on the Apollo space missions, while Russian meals included borscht (sour soup) with meat, pork goulash (stew) and vodka.

3 SPACE-THEMED VINTAGE TOYS


Space-themed vintage toys ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

In an exhibition with replica spacecraft and space-flown artefacts, toys might seem lightweight in comparison. But these vintage space-themed toys provide a glimpse of what it was like to grow up in an era when space exploration was new and exciting. Millions of people would follow the missions on radio and television and astronauts were seen as national heroes.

4 APOLLO AND SKYLAB A7LB SPACESUIT


Apollo and Skylab A7LB spacesuit ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Apollo astronauts wore spacesuits which had to protect them from the harsh environment on the moon and allow enough mobility and flexibility for them to carry out activities in that environment.

The suit consists of 11 layers, including a cooling and ventilation garment against the skin, inner layers of nylon, polymer-based films such as Kapton and Mylar, and a protective outer layer of Teflon-coated fibreglass cloth.

Under normal gravity conditions on Earth, this suit - along with accompanying gloves, boots, a helmet and life support backpack - would weigh 91kg.

5 SPACE SHUTTLE REPLICA

Do not miss this full-scale replica of the double-storey crew cabin and forward fuselage of the United States' Space Shuttle. The orbital spacecraft, which was the first to be able to transport cargo to space and back, was in operation between 1981 and 2011.

It was the world's first partially reusable spacecraft, with an orbiter vehicle which could land like an airplane and be used multiple times. It could carry up to eight crew members and also helped in the construction and maintenance of the International Space Station, a satellite in space used for research purposes which was launched in 1998.

6 REPLICA OF APOLLO LUNAR MODULE CREW CABIN


Replica of Apollo Lunar module crew cabin ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

This full-scale replica resembles an airplane's cockpit.

As the landing portion of the Apollo spacecraft, the Lunar Module is designed to bring a crew of two astronauts from lunar orbit to the moon and back, before being discarded in outer space. A third crew would remain in orbit. Between 1969 and 1972, six Lunar Modules landed successfully on the moon.

In 1970, astronauts on the Apollo 13 mission used the seventh Lunar Module as a life-support system when an oxygen tank explosion derailed their mission. Using it for propulsion, all three crew members returned safely to Earth.

7 SATURN V SCALE MODEL


Saturn V scale model ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

The Saturn V is a launch vehicle that was developed to support the Apollo missions. It was used by Nasa actively between 1966 and 1973. At 110.6m tall and weighing 2,950 tonnes when fully fuelled, Saturn V is the tallest and heaviest rocket to date. It is also the only launch vehicle with enough power to carry humans to the moon and back.

8 MERCURY CAPSULE REPLICA


Mercury capsule replica ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

This is a full-scale replica of a capsule from the Mercury spacecraft - the first human space-flight programme for the US that ran from 1958 to 1963. During the Cold War, the US and the then Soviet Union were engaged in a race to put the first man in space and on the moon. The Mercury spacecraft was designed to carry one man to space for a day and was the US's first step to putting a man in space. It paved the way for later space technology that could carry heavier loads for longer periods.

9 V-2 MISSILE FRAGMENTS


V-2 missile fragments. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

These space-flown fragments may not be much to look at, but represent an important part of history as the progenitor of the modern rocket.

The V-2 rocket was the world's first long-range ballistic missile which was developed by the Germans during World War II. The creators, including lead engineer Wernher von Braun, joined the US Army's missile programme and later Nasa.

Von Braun was an important figure in early American space programmes, helping to create the most powerful rocket to date, the Saturn V rocket, for the US.

10 APOLLO 12 FILM FRAMES AND FILM MAGAZINES


Apollo 12 film frames and film magazines. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Swedish-made Hasselblad cameras were used by Nasa for lunar space photography. However, only the film magazines were brought back to Earth as the camera bodies and lenses had to be discarded on departure to save weight. The film magazines on display have been to the moon and back on the Apollo 8, 12 and 17 missions.


BOOK IT / NASA - A HUMAN ADVENTURE

WHERE: ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue

WHEN: Till March 19, 10am to 7pm daily

ADMISSION: $15 to $25 (adults), $9 to $15 (children)

INFO: marinabaysands.com/ArtScienceMuseum

BOOK IT / PUBLIC GUIDED TOURS

WHERE: Exhibition entrance, Basement 2, ArtScience Museum

WHEN: English tours - today and Dec 30, 3pm; Sunday and Dec 25, 11.30am; Mandarin tours - Sunday and Dec 25, 2 and 4pm

ADMISSION: Complimentary for exhibition ticket-holders. Open only to the first 25 participants

BOOK IT / SPACE QUEST WORKSHOP

WHERE: Rainbow Room, Basement 2, ArtScience Museum

WHEN: Today and Dec 30, 4.30pm

ADMISSION: $8 a person. Open only to the first 20 participants

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2016, with the headline 'Pushing new frontiers in space'. Print Edition | Subscribe