May 26 - Chicago's Adler Planetarium is about to open what it says is an immersive space experience like no other in the world. Called Deep Space Adventure, it will take passengers aboard a futuristic starship for a virtual tour of the Universe. Ben Gruber reports.
The Adler Planetarium has recreated the entire universe inside a dome the size of a small movie theatre. Located in downtown Chicago, the planetarium will soon unveil the most technologically advanced space show ever designed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL KNAPPENBERGER, PRESIDENT, ADLER PLANETARIUM, SAYING: "It's going to be really exciting. For the first time people will feel that they are flying through space. They will be on an observation deck of an imaginary starship flying through the universe and witnessing, up close and personal, the collision and the merging of two galaxies or the explosion of a star as it goes supernova or they will see the black hole in the centre of our galaxy consuming a nearby star." Paul Knappenberger, the president of the Adler, says visitors will feel as though they are "suspended in space" as they travel from galaxy to galaxy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL KNAPPENBERGER, PRESIDENT, ADLER PLANETARIUM, SAYING: "The dome is more than 180 degrees and it surrounds you. Because the technology that is in there produces images on the dome that are the highest resolution ever produced, 8k by 8k, which is a better image than your eye can actually resolve, so you will have the sensation that this a real, that you are in real space." The planetarium can project images, like those captured by the hubble telescope, with more than 5 times the clarity of an average movie theatre. The system uses 83 computers and 20 digital projectors all working simultaneously to produce each frame of video. Knappenberger says he hopes the new planetarium will inspire people to explore and study astronomy. He and his colleague, Chief Technology Officer Doug Roberts also want to open it up for professional star-gazers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOUG ROBERTS, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, ADLER PLANETARIUM, SAYING: "Our limitation right now is our connection to the outside world. We have all of this infrastructure internally, but we have a very small bandwidth to the outside world so the next step is to really get a huge pipe so that we can connect in with research networks." (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL KNAPPENBERGER, PRESIDENT, ADLER PLANETARIUM, SAYING: "I believe that scientists that are actually doing the research will come here with their data sets and want to see them on this remarkable dome through this remarkable projection system which is unmatched anywhere in the world. It will give them views as you move through 3D of their datasets to get a sense of what the real Universe is like." When it opens this July, Paul Knappenberger says he's hoping that visitors from all over the world will come to the Adler for an experience that he says is truly out of this world. Ben Gruber, Reuters.