Celebrate NASA’s Launch of the InSight Lander at WonderLab

This Saturday, May 5, WonderLab will commemorate the launch of NASA’s InSight Mars lander with a series of space and space exploration themed activities. The Indiana Geographical Survey Outreach Team will show guests their Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox, and the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) provided WonderLab with the Explore Earth and Space toolkit. All activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free with admission to the museum.

“We’re very excited to have received an Explore Earth and Space toolkit from NISE,” said Jared Katz, Adult and Secondary Education Specialist at WonderLab. “In celebration of the InSight Launch, we will be using the NISE experiments and activities for the first time ever!”

Using components from the toolkit, guests will be able to explore space as well as terrestrial events such as controlling the Mars Rover (via simulation), making and launching rockets, and making and packaging a replica space telescope for interstellar travel.

According to Katz the toolkit has a variety of activities new to WonderLab. Some of these activities include shaping the ground using water and gravity, simulating the creation of Martian craters, and using tools to study the invisible magnetic fields of earth, the sun, and other objects in the universe.

During the event, the ever popular Augmented Reality Sandbox will make an appearance at WonderLab. This state-of-the-art tool, provided by the Indiana Geographical Survey, shows how topographical maps work and how they can be updated in real-time. Visitors can run their hands through the sand creating their own worlds while watching projected colors change to reflect new ridges and creases.

“The sandbox allows people to manipulate physical sand,” said Katz. “There is a projection over the sand that creates a topographical map. Moving the sand changes the projection to show the creation of new mountains and show how water would move across the area. It is incredibly cool.”

Spend the day celebrating nature and space exploration and the Mars InSight Launch at WonderLab. “It’s the easiest way to interact with Mars without space travel,” said Katz. “See you Saturday!”