It’s a new moon on Friday 18. Instead of howling around a campfire as our ancestors would have, celebrate by boning up on moon facts in the Adler Planetarium’s permanent collection.
1. Start at the Mission: Moon gallery, which explores the Apollo missions that landed a man on the moon almost exactly 40 years ago. The 13-by-6-foot Moon Wall, installed in July (an LCD display that puts jumbo plasma TVs to shame), features a 3-D model of the moon. Grab the joystick and race over the moon’s surface via NASA video footage. Crave even closer inspection? Go to the gallery on your left and spy a real moon rock.
2. In the Space Visualization Lab (Mon–Sat 2–3pm), working scientists can explain how NASA’s LRO—that’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter—captures the footage on the Moon Wall. Sent up to space in June, the orbiter snaps 250 million pixels per image—a photo quality 100 times greater than the previous spy satellites pointed toward the moon.
3. Zip back in time: Go downstairs to the Universe in Your Hands gallery and see 18th-century tiny brass orreries, miniature models of the solar system.
4. Head to Our Solar System gallery’s Crater Maker. Essentially a big paintball gun, the interactive display shows how craters form. Shoot a few rounds, er, learn more about the moon before you come down to earth.