Lost Spacecraft – Educational Experience
THE LOST SPACECRAFT: LIBERTY BELL 7 RECOVERED AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Appealing to visitors of all ages, “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” creates a virtual lesson in history and technology, human dedication and triumph in a totally hands-on interactive experience. The exhibit by Discovery Channel highlights the story of the 1961 launch and loss of the Liberty Bell 7, engaging visitors in astronaut training, spacecraft technology and launch sequences. It then fast-forwards to 1999 to share the exciting events surrounding the rescue of the spacecraft by deep-sea search and recovery expert Curt Newport and his team.
Visitors are encouraged to touch, move, push, operate, climb, maneuver and control the interactive elements of “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” to experience the challenge and excitement known to early astronauts and modern-day explorers. The goal of the exhibit is to allow visitors to learn, retain, process and apply these experiences elsewhere.
“The natural learning mechanisms children employ are not much more sophisticated than experimentation, and reflection, with a small amount of instruction thrown in when they are in the mood to listen,” says Roger Shank of the Institute of the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University in the book Engines for Education. “Doing, and attempting to do, is at the heart of children’s natural acquisition of knowledge.”
Visitors to “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered” enjoy a hands-on lesson in the science and technology associated with early space flight and modern deep-sea exploration. They will experience:
The Mercury Program
Capsule Simulator: Climb into the pilot’s seat and use the control panel to perform a mission re-entry sequence developed from actual Liberty Bell 7 flight data on this simulation of a capsule simulator from the Mercury Program era. It resolved to put a manned spacecraft into the earth’s orbit and to investigate a human’s ability to survive and work in space. Sequential thinking, manual dexterity and attention to detail are challenged here.
Man Rating the Machines: Choose one of six rocket launches and use a periscope to watch actual launch footage from the Mercury Program, which lasted from 1961-1963. Rockets tested in this era had a 39 percent success rate. Compare this technology to that of the modern day aeronautical engineering.
Capsule Control: Control the pitch, roll and yaw of a Mercury model to orient for re-entry. TheLiberty Bell 7 was the first to have controls that enabled the pilot to operate the capsule. Mercury Program pilots were familiar with pitch (back and forth) and roll maneuvers, but the yaw (side to side) maneuver was foreign to them–offering a hands-on lesson in physics and coordination.
Hunt Club: Use a joystick control to maneuver a small helicopter model and attempt to rescue a miniature version of the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft. The splashdown recovery team, known as the Hunt Club, would fly their Sikorsky helicopters off an aircraft carrier, locate the spacecraft, lower a steel cable, attach it to the craft and carry it back to the ship. TheLiberty Bell 7 is the only spacecraft the Hunt Club couldn’t rescue. The helicopter did not have the necessary power to lift the water-filled capsule and stay aloft. The recovery shipOcean Project had the equipment necessary, including a specially reinforced cable and engine capacity, to lift and load the capsule. Get a firsthand look at how basic principles of physics allow man to prevail over nature’s obstacles.
Centrifuge: Climb into a two-person pod and experience up to two G forces on this simulator for centrifuge training. A G force is the force felt upon changing direction when traveling at a high rate of speed. The astronauts experienced G pressures of eight to 10 during actual flight. One G is equal to your weight, two G’s is equal to twice your weight, three G’s is equal to three times your weight and so on. Get a hands-on physics lesson on the effects of gravity, one of the most important laws of nature.
The Recovery Expedition
The Daily Dispatches: During Newport’s expedition, he and his team dispatched daily reports over the Internet. Visitors can access dispatches from the recovery expedition via a laptop computer similar to the one used aboard the ship Ocean Discovery. Today’s laptop computers offer enough power that just one could have controlled an entire Mercury mission, which in 1961 required all the computing power of Mission Control. Computer science and technology have taken unprecedented leaps in the last 40 years.
Curt Newport Interview: Query deep-sea search and recovery expert Newport on the quest he began in 1984 for the Liberty Bell 7. Discover why he sought the capsule, the challenges involved and the expertise and technology that enabled him to fulfill his dream. Human ingenuity and advances in engineering now allow man and machine to travel to depths of more than three miles below the ocean’s surface.
ROV Pilot: While viewing a model of the Liberty Bell 7 on a monitor, attempt to attach a harness to a clamp via a joystick control. It simulates the task of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The ROV has robotic arms and cameras that were used to locate and attach the custom-designed clamps to the spacecraft on the ocean floor. Then a cable and harness system was attached to the clamps to lift the capsule slowly to the surface. Forty years ago, man found a way to prevail in space and, applying unique lessons in robotics, man is now conquering a previously forbidding adversary, the sea.
Locating: Select a sonar image within a grid, then discover the identity of the object. Custom software creates a video image from the rough sonar data. Side-scanning sonar mapped a 3-mile-by-8-mile section of the ocean floor, allowing Newport’s team to approximate the location of the Liberty Bell 7. Sound waves are a valuable tool.
To learn more about the mission, expedition and the exhibit, visit us at www.discovery.com.
Evergreen Exhibitions, based in San Antonio, Texas, is a world leader in providing high quality, state-of-the-art, family educational experiences, and serves as a major development partner with more than 200 leading museums and research institutions. Evergreen Exhibitions is proud to work with Fortune 500 corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Pfizer Inc, IBM, TIME and others to bring blockbuster exhibits and events to people around the globe. In addition to the “The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered,” current exhibits include the award-winning The Robot Zoo; Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss; Theme Park: The Art & Science of Universal’s Islands of Adventure; Microbes: Invisible Invaders … Amazing Allies; Masters of the Night … The True Story of Bats; EarthQuest … The Challenge Begins (retired); and AFRICA: One Continent … Many Worlds; and Chicano Now : American Expressions.
Discovery Channel is one of the United States’ two largest cable television networks, serving 78 million households across the nation with the finest in informative entertainment. Discovery Networks, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery People, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel, Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en Español. The unit also markets and distributes BBC America
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Source: Evergreen Exhibitions