Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will unveil the “Great Balls of Fire” interactive exhibit tomorrow (Wednesday, July 2, 2014), which allows guests to discover the risks that asteroids, comets and meteorites present to our planet. The exhibit explores how we keep track of near-Earth objects while examining the effects of possible impacts. Dr. Tom Jones, four-time space shuttle astronaut, will be the guest of honor at the grand opening event for this new exhibit. 


As a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Jones will focus on the future direction of human space exploration, uses of asteroid and space resources and defending Earth from asteroid impacts.

Within the Great Balls of Fire exhibit is Asteroid Encounter, where guests can climb aboard a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter while compiling data about asteroids and comets. During your mission, you compile data about asteroids and comets. In addition to learning general information about meteors, comets and asteroids, you can use interactive displays to build your own solar system, test rocks to see if they have meteorite-like properties, explore the various sizes of asteroids and comets, and explore what would happen if one were to hit your hometown.

You also can view clips from a variety of movies and TV shows in the Science Fact or Science Fiction area to answer whether the science is right or wrong, comparing your answers to those of scientists and even previous visitors at the Visitor Complex.

Great Balls of Fire, a production of The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, is a national traveling exhibition that receives funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is showcasing this exhibit in the IMAX East Gallery through December 31, 2014.

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