Space exhibit that’s out of this world
A map that’s been to the Moon, signed photographs of astronauts and space memorabilia — they’re all dominating the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute lobby as part of a new exhibit.
Fifty Years of Space celebrates the anniversary of man’s first walk on the Moon, and includes a rich collection of artefacts collected by Scott Stallard.
Although the focus is on space rather than the oceans, the idea is that there are many connections that make it relevant to BUEI and Bermuda as a whole.
“There is so much that has come out of space exploration that has led to technologies that have helped us to understand our oceans, such as solar energy and weather satellites that have enabled us to do a lot of ocean mapping,” said Tara Curtis, the BUEI’s chief executive officer and the project manager of the event. “All of this technology that became advanced because of the space exploration programme has helped us to understand the ocean much more. Bermuda has such a deep connection with space exploration having had the Cooper’s Island Nasa station here.
“Then there is the connection with Teddy Tucker, who was one of the founders of BUEI and became lifelong friends with a number of astronauts including Buzz Aldrin and Katherine Sullivan. Teddy was very much globally known and there were a number of scientific advisers who worked with him. They have been here in Bermuda and spent time with Teddy and his family, and it was through those contacts that he was connected with many of these astronauts.”
The family of the late diving legend shared original photographs however one of the highlights was a map that Buzz Aldrin carried as he walked on the Moon with Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969.
“Scott Stallard approached us at the end of last year as we were stepping into the 50th anniversary of Americans landing on the Moon. He said he has all of this space memorabilia and space artefacts and would we be interested in doing a display and talk. We jumped at the idea.
“He has been an avid collector for decades so we have a lot of original photographs signed by astronauts, and the map that was on the Moon is signed by Buzz Aldrin.”
The map is of the Sea of Tranquility base, the area of the Moon that the space flight Apollo 11 landed on 50 years ago.
“It shows the crater outlines,” Ms Curtis said. “They had a tricky time landing — they had to go into manual override because they were headed to land in a pretty deep crater and they were able to get beyond it.
“The map was one of the items that Scott was able to pick up at one of the space auctions.”
Ms Curtis, a lifelong lover of science who has a degree in applied nuclear physics from Canada’s McMaster University, has relished the opportunity to be involved in leading the exhibition.
The former chief executive of Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre moved over to BUEI about a year ago, looking for a new challenge.
“I am a scientist, a physicist, so I have an individual interest and passion about space and exploration. It has been a bit of a unique experience and opportunity that we could support here at BUEI.
“BUEI is an amazing organisation and being a scientist I am always craving to learn new things. I am also very much an environmentalist so this was an opportunity to try something new and different. I accomplished what I wanted to at BCHC after ten years including overseeing the project to have the radiation therapy treatment facility installed.”
Admission to 50 Years of Space is free through sponsorship by Marsh & McLennan Companies. Four films will screen as part of the exhibit. A 12-minute “behind-the-scenes” video created by Scott Stallard at a space shuttle launch will be shown to school groups as part of tours. The exhibit closes on Wednesday.
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