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Museum of Discovery and Science and BankAtlantic are set to cut the ribbon for the new MarsQuest exhibit and Roving Mars IMAX® film on Friday, December 1, 2006.
 

Fort Lauderdale - For centuries, human beings have contemplated Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, Mars, dreaming impossible dreams of exploring its surface and divining its mysteries. Now, the impossible has become possible in the new Walt Disney Picture production, Roving Mars, which documents the remarkable Mars mission which sent two intrepid explorers, Spirit and Opportunity --- the Mars rovers --- to the Red Planet and in the new traveling exhibit MarsQuest. Both are set to open on December 1, 2006 at the Museum of Discovery and Science and Blockbuster IMAX Theater with an official ribbon cutting ceremony slated for 6:30 p.m. Dr. Kevin Grazier, scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will assist with the ribbon cutting and will deliver a presentation after the 8:00 p.m. showing of Roving Mars on the history and future of Mars exploration.

Within the MarsQuest exhibit which is locally sponsored by BankAtlantic, visitors can tour Mars and explore breathtaking canyons and volcanoes. Providing visitors with a first-hand sense of exploration, MarsQuest is organized around several Mars sites, each representing a different geologic formation: Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system; Valles Marineris, a valley as long as the United States is wide; and Ares Vallis, the Pathfinder landing site. Each area makes comparisons between Mars and Earth, giving visitors a sense of Mars as a real place.

MarsQuest was developed by the Space Science Institute (SSI), a research and education, non-profit corporation headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. "The project includes collaborations with Mars' experts from SSI, University of Colorado, Arizona State University and a number of other universities and organizations around the country," said Institute Director Dr. Paul Dusenbery.

More than 20 interactive experiences invite visitors to play the part of explorers. Visitors can send commands to maneuver a rover over a Martian landscape. They can experiment with collage puzzles to learn how scientists assemble larger planetary views from many small images. Visitors can feel Martian soil and experience Ned Kahn's large-scale Volcanic Eruption and six-foot diameter Fog Basin. These experiences and beautiful images help visitors visualize important geologic features on Mars and Earth. "This decade of Mars exploration will revolutionize our understanding of Martian natural history and climate. These areas of inquiry are strongly intertwined with key questions about Earth's own history, climate and the origins of life," said Dr. Todd Clancy, a SSI researcher who studies Mars' atmosphere.

The MarsQuest Education Program is helping teachers share the thrill of scientific discovery with their students. The Space Science Institute and Jeff Kennedy Associates, Inc., developed MarsQuest with major funding from the National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The national tour is managed by the Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated. To find out more about MarsQuest, visit SSI's web site at http://www.spacescience.org or http://www.marsquestonline.org/index.html.

The Space Science Institute is a non-profit corporation dedicated to integrating science research with education. Institute scientists conduct research in the areas of space physics, planetary science, astrophysics and earth science. The Institute also develops classroom curricular materials and museum exhibits, and provides professional development opportunities for educators about science and for scientists about education. Space Science Institute Contact: Lisa Curtis 720.974.5821 curtis@spacescience.org

Roving Mars IMAX® Film
For centuries human beings have contemplated Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, Mars, dreaming impossible dreams of exploring its surface and divining its mysteries. Now the impossible has become possible. In the new Walt Disney Pictures’ Production, Roving Mars, presented as a public service by Lockheed Martin and showing exclusively in IMAX® theatres, award-winning director George Butler ("Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure") and Academy Award®-nominated producer Frank Marshall ("Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Seabiscuit") have documented the remarkable Mars mission which sent two intrepid, death-defying explorers—Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars rovers—to the Red Planet.

Through the eyes of these remarkable robots, viewers can now see Mars in a way that no one ever has. The size and clarity of the IMAX® screen draw the viewer into an awe-inspiring landscape that has never seen the footprint of an earthling—until now. But this important expedition accomplished far more than the simple transmission of thousands of Martian images. The rovers actually discovered traces of ice within the rocks of Mars. The discovery marked clear proof that water once ran on the surface—a giant leap forward in answering that most haunting of questions: Is there life on Mars? ROVING MARS was directed by George Butler and produced by Frank Marshall and Butler. Scott Swofford served as executive producer.

The film was written by George Butler and Robert Andrus, with narration written by Butler. Philip Glass composed the music. The film, a Kennedy/Marshall and White Mountain Films production, is presented as a public service by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with NASA.
www.rovingmars.com

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY AND SCIENCE

The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science is to provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs and films. Founded in 1976 as The Discovery Center, the nonprofit facility served approximately 450,000 visitors last year. Major operational support for the Museum is provided through generous support by Leadership Guild members including: City Furniture, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Sun-Sentinel and Wachovia.

The Museum is open seven days a week, 365 days a year; Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. with extended IMAX® hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. General Admission prices are $15 for adults; $14 for seniors; $12 for children 2 to 12. Children under 2 are free. A General Admission Ticket includes admission to the Museum exhibits and one regular IMAX® film. The Museum of Discovery and Science is located downtown at 401 SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312. For more information about the Museum, visitors should call 954.467.MODS (6637) or visit our web site at www.mods.org

ABOUT THE BLOCKBUSTER® IMAX® THEATER

The Blockbuster® IMAX®Theater-owned and operated by the Museum of Discovery and Science, opened in 1992. The 300-seat theater is a showcase of state-of-the-art motion picture technology. The Blockbuster® IMAX®Theater features a 60 ft. x 80 ft. screen and a 15,000 watt digital sound system that delivers six discrete channels of clear sound through 42 speakers. The IMAX® projector’s 15,000 watt Xenon bulb projects images of unsurpassed brilliance and clarity onto the five-story-high screen. Both 2D and 3D films are shown in the theater. 3D films are viewed using new lightweight XR 3D glasses. The IMAX® experience is an unparalleled fusion of sight and sound. For show times, visitors should call 954.463.IMAX (4629).

ABOUT DR. KEVIN GRAZIER

Dr. Kevin Grazier holds the duel titles of Investigation Scientist and Science Planning Engineer for the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan.at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. He earned B.S. degrees in computer science and geology from Purdue University, and a B.S. in physics from Oakland University. He earned his M.S. in physics from Purdue, and then went to UCLA for his doctoral research in planetary physics, performing long-term large-scale computer simulations of early Solar System evolution. While in graduate school, he worked at the RAND Corporation, processing Viking imagery in support of the Mars Observer Mission. At JPL he has written mission planning and analysis software that won both JPL- and NASA-wide awards. Dr. Grazier still continues research involving computer simulations of Solar System dynamics, evolution, and chaos with collaborators at UCLA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Auckland, Purdue University, and the Space Science Institute. He also serves on two NASA educational product review panels.

In addition to his JPL duties, Dr. Grazier is active in teaching the public about science and space. He teaches classes in basic astronomy, planetary science, cosmology, and the search for extraterrestrial life at UCLA and Santa Monica College. He is also a planetarium lecturer at LA’s famed (and newly re-opened) Griffith Observatory, and is the interim director of the John Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College. Dr. Grazier has been featured in several documentaries; he co-hosted the premier episode of Discovery Channel’s Science Live! Kid’s Edition and even co-anchored CNN’s coverage of Cassini’s Saturn orbit insertion with Miles O’Brien.

On a lighter note, Dr. Grazier is also currently the Science Advisor for the PBS animated educational TV series The Zula Patrol, and for the SciFi Channel series Eureka and Battlestar Galactica. He also writes the monthly Battlestar Galactica TECH Blog on www.hollywoodnorthreport.com.

Media Contacts: Jody Ligas 954.713.0904 email
Theresa Waldron 954.713.0901 email


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