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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Capitol Museum unveils Mars Mission exhibit

    Photo courtesy Capitol Museumin Phoenix. After two months of set-up, the exhibit includes old equipment and pictures from past mars missions.
    Photo courtesy Capitol Museumin Phoenix. After two months of set-up, the exhibit includes old equipment and pictures from past mars missions.

    PHOENIX – Now when you go to the Capitol Museum here, you can learn not only about Arizona’s past, but its future as well.

    “”Up from the Ashes: Phoenix Goes to Mars”” is the museum’s newest addition and the first science exhibit to grace the halls of the historic 55,000-square foot museum and former home of the Arizona Legislature.

    The exhibit, in partnership with the UA, features more than 20 photos showcasing the Phoenix Mars Mission, a project that sent an 800-pound lander to Mars on Aug. 4 which will land there May 25 and give scientists a glimpse into the building blocks of life on the Red Planet.

    The UA is the first public university to lead a mission to Mars, and the Phoenix exhibit documents the project from its infancy to the present, said Paul Allvin, associate vice president for communications for the UA.

    The exhibit will also be updated with content from the scientists working on the project, he said.

    Models of the equipment – such as a one-tenth model of the lander, a robotic arm that will dig through the surface of Mars and a reproduction of a panoramic camera that will take pictures of Mars – are featured, as well.

    The museum is the perfect place for an exhibit like this because the museum documents Arizona’s history, which the Phoenix Mars Mission will be part of, said curator Brenda McLain.

    “”The UA and what they’re doing is really Arizona’s future,”” she said. “”We deal with its past.””

    Claire Nullmeyer, president of the Arizona Capitol Museum Guild, said she is going to bring her son, a high school senior, to see the exhibit because it’s so exciting.

    “”I am just awestruck,”” she said. “”This is just so impressive.””

    The exhibit took about two months to organize, McLain said.

    The Phoenix mission is based on the missions before it that failed, Allvin said.

    Some of the old equipment from past missions is used in the Phoenix mission, and Peter Smith, principal investigator for the mission, dubbed it “”Phoenix”” because it was like a bird rising from the ashes of the past missions, he said.

    The Arizona Capitol Museum is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. More information can be found at www.lib.az.us/museum/.

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