Space goes stellar

Surrey Museum turns to the cosmos for its new exhibit.

Canada’s contribution to space exploration is revealed – and celebrated – in the Surrey Museum’s highly-anticipated summer exhibition, Stellar Space.

A year in the making, and created in collaboration with the likes of the Canadian Space Agency, the National Research Council and Canadian aerospace technology titans MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates, the exhibition opened late last month, offering visitors a deeper respect for Canada’s scientific strength and ingenuity.

Did you know Canada was the third nation (after the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.) to launch a satellite into orbit? The Alouette 1 launched nearly 50 years ago (in 1962) to monitor and study our planet’s upper atmosphere and improve long distance radio communications.

Check out two life-size replica Canadian satellites – the Alouette 1 and the much newer Sapphire. Both are smaller than you might imagine; they’re only about the size of a La-Z-Boy chair.

Of course, no showcase of the Great White North’s contribution to exploring and understanding the Final Frontier would be complete without the Canadarm, the workhorse of successive shuttle missions and a bright symbol of the spirit of international space cooperation.

Visitors of all ages are invited to test their skills on a robotic scale model, built by local electronics enthusiast Skylar Vine, a freelance entertainment technician who lives in Langley.

Stellar Space runs until Aug. 27 at the Surrey Museum.

 

Stellar Space runs until Aug. 27 at the Surrey Museum. Boaz Joseph / The Leader

 

You’ll also be able to learn how much you’d weigh – and how old you’d be – on various planets in our solar system, making you the envy of trivia buffs everywhere.

There’s plenty to boast about back on Earth; the exhibit features images from the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, a closer look at various backyard telescopes and telescope cameras, and more.

Canada’s 10 astronauts also get their due; from Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space, to Dr. Roberta Bondar, and Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, Canada has a solid record of training scientists and pilots to become astronauts.

Stellar Space runs until Aug. 27. There are space-themed preschool and children’s programs throughout the summer.

And join UBC astrophysicist Gaelen Marsden on Saturday, July 23 from 2-3 p.m. for In A Galaxy Far, Far Away as part of the museum’s speaker series. Learn how scientists study the oldest, farthest galaxies. Admission is by donation.

The Surrey Museum is located at 17710 56A Ave. It’s open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for 2011, but donations are appreciated. For more information, call 604-592-6956 or visit www.surrey.ca/heritage