LOS ALAMOS, NM — Aug. 2, 2012 — The Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico invites the public to a special opening reception for an exhibit showcasing Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) technological contributions with NASA’s Curiosity rover – a six-wheeled mobile science laboratory at the center of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. The Curiosity rover is scheduled to land on the planet Mars at 11:31 p.m. (MDT) on Sunday, Aug. 5. The Bradbury Science Museum reception begins at 10 p.m.with a live showing of the landing via NASA TV that evening. The event is free and light refreshments will be served.
“This is an exhibit about LANL technology on Mars. We’re really excited to showcase LANL’s scientific and technologic expertise while also providing an educational and fun experience for the public,” Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck said. “We’ve been thinking about this for months and intensely working on it about four weeks. The exhibit will remain in place indefinitely in the museum’s TechLab.”
While waiting for the news about the landing of the Curiosity rover, visitors to the new museum exhibit can learn about LANL technologies on board, view a nearly life-sized three-dimensional stereo poster of Curiosity, and use their iPhone or iPad to interact with it.
Museum visitors will find display models of ChemCam – the rock-zapping laser that will help characterize Martian geology, CheMin, which uses X-ray diffraction to determine the composition of mineral samples collected and dropped into a funnel on the Curiosity rover; and simulated radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) – the tiny plutonium canisters that provide heat and power sources that give Curiosity several times as much electricity as previous-generation rovers which is a necessity for the much larger and more-advanced payload on Curiosity.
The museum’s TechLab will have a dozen videos and animations about the Curiosity rover from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Visitors can also pose for photos with a life-size image of the rover. A scientist from LANL’s Curiosity team will be on hand to talk to visitors during the opening event.
The Bradbury Science Museum is located at 15th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Los Alamos. The museum’s regular hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and 1– 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Admission is free and photography is allowed. For more information, visit http://www.lanl.gov/museum/