During Summer 2023, I visited the Rose Center for Earth and Space numerous times to do visual research for my sci-fi graphic novel called Flight. At the heart of Rose Center for Earth and Space is the huge and spectacular Hayden Sphere. Surrounding the sphere are various exhibitions exploring the cosmos, the 13-billion-year history of the universe, the mystery of galaxies, stars, planets and elements of the Earth. I lost the map that I got with my ticket, but a little girl in an orange hat, helped me locate a few things using her map.
The sheer size of the planetarium is intriguing and inviting. The moment I saw it, I wanted to go inside. The planeterium is located at the upper part of the Hayden sphere. I took the elevator to the third floor and entered the planetarium. While watching the show at the planetarium it felt like I was in outer space.
Next, I went to the Big Bang theater. As Liam Neeson's voice-over explained the Big Bang in the convex screen, the entire galactic dimension seemed infinite. From the theater, I proceeded to walk the Harriet and Robert Heilbrum Cosmic Pathway that lays out the 13-billion year history of the universe. I felt like a tiny spec in the great cosmos of things.
I wanted to see if there was any special exhibit on Mars. The graphic novel that I am writing is based on Mars and I wanted to see how the colors of Mars looked like. I found a display on Mars. There were so many patterns, textures and colors. Sometimes, the blue on Mars turns red and the red turns blue.
After looking at the colors of Mars, I went to see the Willamette meteorite. This meteorite was found in Oregon, the largest ever found in the United States. When I touched it, the surface felt strangely smooth.
I contemplated the sound of a meteor.
Something about the meteorite made me remember eating cheese.
I saw the little girl with the orange hat again. She was walking towards the video display of Curiosity, the Mars Rover.
The video display of Curiosity, the Mars Rover was very interesting. This car-sized rover is part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). Curiosity's ongoing mission is to study the ancient habitability and the potential for life on Mars. It began its first drive on Mars on Aug. 29, 2012. The rover is about as tall as a basketball player and uses a 7-foot (2-meter) arm to place tools close to rocks for study.
When I saw all the exhibits and was ready to head out, I thought of exiting through the gift shop. Because, why not? The gift shop was full of shiny and attractive objects. I saw a variety of rocket toys and rocket themed items. Each looked fun and exciting. I thought of buying one, but decided on a set of Mars themed playing cards instead. When I left the Center for Space and Earth, I knew I will come back again.