I spent a couple of hours at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. The highlight was the IMAX, 3D documentary Journey to Space. It is impressive how in less than an hour they brought out highlights from the Apollo moon shots, the Space Shuttle/International Space Station/Hubble telescope era and the next phase of Orion rockets and the goal to reach Mars.
These have been stepping stones for each others – how the inflexibility of the Apollo generation space suits is helping design the next-gen, how Apollo era rockets are guiding design of the much more powerful Orion rockets, how long term stays on the ISS are helping plan for physical and mental health on the much longer Mars shot, how the innovative Bigelow expandable Kevlar type space module and solar arrays will facilitate the long journey, the robotics like the Rover which will precede humans, the audacious attempt to redirect an asteroid into a stable orbit around the moon, where astronauts can explore it and return with samples.
And then you walk out and see the exhibits of the Mars Rover and the Apollo lunar module and various rockets and like me you likely get goosebumps. A manned Mars shot is likely in the next two decades – and I mean a round trip.
Go see the movie at an IMAX near you. Here’s a listing of theaters where it is running.