Take a ‘Trip’ to Mars Right from West Hartford

Image courtesy of The New Children's Museum.

By Ronni Newton


The year is 2132.  People now have the technology to travel great distances in space. They have left the borders of Earth to live and work in neighboring worlds.

Visitors to the Gengras Planetarium at The New Children’s Museum in West Hartford will be transported to this amazing future through the new planetarium show “From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet” that premiered on June 21, 2014, on the museum’s Travelers Science Dome.

The story begins with a young scientist named Carina who has just arrived on a Mars base. She shares her excitement about this new frontier with her younger brother Aidan. He still lives in Earth but is preparing for his own exciting internship on the Moon Base.

Audience members will become immersed in the lives of this brother and sister as they learn about conditions on other worlds and gain insight into things that are relevant to kids and teens – like what kind of food space travelers will eat, how astronauts stay in shape after leaving Earth and special clothing space explorers must wear under their spacesuits.

Carina is stationed at Mars’ fictional Thomas A. Mutch Memorial Station, near the dry river valleys and the site where the unmanned Viking 1 probe actually landed in 1976.

“The planetarium environment takes visitors on a journey of discovery through a very unique immersive experience,” said Noreen Grice, manager of the Gengras Planetarium. “This program will inspire young scientists and engineers to dream about the future of living and working on special places like Mars.”

“From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet” is a totally kid-friendly educational experience that will fascinate adults as well. The narration is accompanied by breathtaking visuals, inspired by real images of Mars.

“Besides Earth, Mars is the most studied planet and has a real potential for human exploration,” said Skip Gengras, whose parents the late E. Clayton and Elizabeth Gengras were key participants in creating the planetarium at The New Children’s Museum in the 1960s. “This film provides a valuable opportunity to teach real-world science and encourages a new generation of space explorers.”

Carina’s statement to her brother that “It’s never a waste of time to try to learn something new,” underscores The New Children’s Museum’s commitment to move “Full S.T.E.A.M. [science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics] Ahead” into the future by inspiring creativity and lifelong learning.

Be sure to catch “From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet” before the end of the summer. Do not miss this out-of-this-world experience!

“From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet” was developed by employees of The New Children’s Museum with funding provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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