Like our galaxy itself, INFINITY Science Center is still growing! Our show-stopping 72,000 square foot building contains a large area on the ground floor called the Earth Gallery. Since our Earth Gallery exhibits are still under development, currently the space is being used for special events. Below, you’ll read about some of the exciting Earth Gallery exhibits in the works. Click here to find out how you can have a hand in making the long-range INFINITY vision a reality, with all levels of sponsorship!
Visitors enter the Earth Gallery on the main level. There, suspended before them, is a beautiful, shimmering sphere — Planet Earth. Moving around the sphere, they see several warmly glowing corrals where other visitors are engaged in activities. Through windows in the back of the gallery, they notice a small garden just outside the doors. To one side, they see a ramp that leads down to a large water tank on the lower level.
The Earth Gallery is devoted to investigations of Earth as a holistic, life-supporting system. Visitors engage in activities and learn about the sciences, tools, and methodologies that scientists at Stennis use to explore Earth’s oceans, land masses, and atmosphere and the interactions among them. They also learn how scientists apply the knowledge they gain to improve the environment and life on Earth. Currently, all of the exhibits below can carry your company or personal name as a sponsor. Click here for more details.
The exhibit/activity areas in the Earth Gallery will be:
Global Patterns is a digital media program that recreates the various cycles and patterns that characterize Earth as a system. On the entry side of the sphere, breath-taking and constantly shifting visual patterns will show well-known scientific phenomena such as precipitation, wind, temperatures, and pollution—on a global scale.
Narration by Stennis scientists will interpret these patterns and invite visitors to learn more in the galleries of INFINITY. On the opposite side of the sphere, visitors can use laser pointers to trigger audio clips providing more detailed information about these patterns. NOAA’s Science-on-a-Sphere forms the basis of this exhibit.
In the Global Patterns exhibit a visitor:
- Learns about Earth as a series of dynamic, interconnected systems.
- Learns how global phenomena relate to local, observable patterns.
- Learns how scientists at Stennis study these phenomena and how they as visitors will be able to explore them at INFINITY.
- Watches a mix of narration, animations, and computer simulations that describe the multitude of cycles and systems that make up planet Earth.
- Uses a laser pointer to hear additional information about these patterns at labeled hotspots throughout the sphere.
At the Deep Ocean Lab, visitors are able to use sophisticated technology to make a map of the floor of a large water tank. This helps to illustrate the basic principles of bathymetry.
These maps are then fed into a 3D simulation program that allows the visitor to visualize the area they just mapped.
At the Deep Ocean Lab, a visitor:
- Learns about survey boats and how they are used to map the ocean floor.
- Learns about the bathymetry of the Gulf of Mexico (in particular, the Viosca Knoll).
- Learns about typical features of the sea floor.
- Scans a strip of the tank floor by navigating a camera on the tank’s surface.
- Views a 3D fly through of the strip they scanned.
- Navigates through a 3D model of the entire tank.
The Environmental Monitoring exhibit provides a central conduit between Stennis and the outside environment. Live data feeds from all parts of the globe—particularly the Gulf Coast region and the immediate surroundings at Stennis—are used by visitors to explore their environment while also learning about the role of data collection in scientific research.
At the Environmental Monitoring exhibit, a visitor:
- Learns how scientists collect and use data.
- Learns about the extraordinary amount and diversity of data that scientists collect and use in their research.
- Selects a specific type of data (e.g., air quality, ocean buoy measurements, water quality) for collection.
- Uses on-screen controls to locate and select a data-collection site.
- Accesses live environmental data from that site.
The Severe Weather Center is a team activity in which individuals learn the importance of different climactic variables for accurately predicting a storm’s path.
The Severe Weather Center is an engaging activity that helps a visitor achieve a better understanding of the complexities of predicting a storm’s path.
While interacting with the Severe Weather Center, a visitor:
- Is introduced to the process of numerical modeling and climate prediction.
- Learns about key variables that influence hurricanes and their relative importance in hurricane prediction.
- Learns how data are collected and used in severe weather prediction.
- Manipulates different climactic variables to see their effects on a storm’s predicted path and landfall.
- Collects actual historical data from different ocean and land-based data-collection stations.
- Enters the data into a predictive model and then, with the group, makes a prediction about the path of the storm.
- Watches a 3D animation of the hurricane they just predicted.
- Evaluates the accuracy of the two hurricane-prediction models.
In the Remote Sensing Lab exhibit, visitors learn how to interpret remote sensing images by comparing them to a real-world habitat in INFINITY’s backyard.
Through the Remote Sensing Lab activity, a visitor:
- Learns how to relate living and non-living objects to remotely sensed data.
- Identifies plants’ unique signatures under different wavelengths of energy.
- Learns how remote sensing data are used to study biological issues.
- Collects different remote sensing images of the outside garden.
- Carries out groundtruthing by identifying and labeling specific plants and objects on these remotely sensed images.
- Determines specific characteristics of plants from their remotely sensed data.
At the Watershed Model, visitors investigate the hydrology and spread of pollutants through a watershed. They learn about:
- The dynamics of water flowing through a large watershed.
- The interconnectedness of the rivers within a watershed.
- Important causes and sources of water pollution.
- U.S. geography in terms of its watersheds.
- The role of wetlands in a watershed system.
Visitors get to:
- Add pollutants (colored floating balls) at different parts of the watershed and then observe the results.
- Compare the impact of point and non-point sources of pollution in a watershed.