A couple of weeks ago I managed to get to see the NASA exhibition at the ArtScience Museum in its final week. I had been meaning to go since it arrived back in November 2016 and was looking forward to seeing some space loot. Tickets were 2-for-1 in the final few days so it was all systems go for….sigh….launch.
We’ve all heard the theories about the moon landings being fake well “fake” is actually the key word I would choose to describe this entire exhibition as a vast majority of the exhibits were replicas and models. What’s the point? I would get a more engaging experience looking up picture of the real space artifacts on the internet rather than staring at plastic effigy that some dude in an office in Cape Canaveral rustled up with some Cornflakes boxes and sticky tape.
So spoiler alert; I didn’t really enjoy it and it was pretty disappointing. As I went around I just ended up reading the information signs and lowering my head every time I read the ubiquitous “replica” in brackets after the description.
First part was focused on the space race. Above us was a replica of Sputnik satellite. Graphically fine but nothing to write home about. Some old 60’s memorabilia set the scene for the era involved.
I guess the few authentic highlights were the REAL engine parts..at least I think they were real. Seeing the innards of wires and industrial tape and basic soldering really puts into perspective how innovative yet daring the NASA scientists were. I guess it was rocket science after all.
So after the engines you pretty much went through a model show-room of cockpits, modules, and rockets. It got boring where it should have got awe-inspiring.
Near the end there was a little miniature version of that big G-Force astronaut thingy (you know the one, James Bond was locked in one back in the day) for people to try out and that was pretty much that. I waited around to see if the door opened at the end of a spin and a pool of vomit would just flood out. It didn’t, people came out with faces asking “that’s it?” and just wandered off in a daze to the exit.
Sadly, I followed them too, in a daze, and was not sad to leave.
What was I looking for in a space exhibition? I was looking for real artifacts and an exhibition that left me with more questions than answers and a sense of awe. It failed on both counts…