Back To The Moon for Good.

On Sunday we were part of a group invited to the National Space Centre for the first public showing of the new full-dome planetarium film “Back to the Moon for good”.

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I want to first start of by telling you that the National Space Centre is truly incredible place to visit. I went with all four of my children so thats two stroppy teenagers and two 12 year olds one with severe special needs and everyone of them had an amazing time.

The centre has a lot to see but it offers the information it such a way that everyone gets to interact and learn. The staff are super friendly and seem generally interested in the subject they are discussing. I honestly recommend it for a family day out. My youngest went from believing space was boring to now wanting to study the subject.

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The day was planned as a promotion for the film Back to the Moon. This is a film that was actually created at the National Space Centre by the award winning NSC Creative team. It is a 25 minute film that is narrated by the award winning actor Tim Allen and after you get over the desire to hear the words “To infinity and beyond” you realise he is is the perfect man for the job. The film shows the fascinating story of the teams competing to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon and to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

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The film explores both the history of lunar travel and the vision of humanity’s future on the Moon. I was surprised to find out that my children had never learned a lot about past moon exploration. One big parenting fail on my behalf.

Also something I didn’t realise until this event was that the last time someone was on the moon was before I was actually born.

The film was incredible and kept the attention of all my children including the one who never sits still for more than five minutes. It was helped of course by the setting it was shown in, the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium is rather awesome.

To be honest my invitation to this event was the first time I had ever heard about the Google Lunar XPRIZE but after a question and answer time with Alex Hall, Senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE and Robert Bohme from Part Time Scientists I felt I knew a little more and was extremely excited for both the moon race but also the wider implications from the technology being designed.

Robert especially had me enthralled with the Artificial Intelligence progress they had and were achieving.

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“The Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop a lost cost methods of robotic space exploration. The win the Google Lunar XPRIZE a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.”

“The XRIZE was founded in 1995 it is the leading the organisation solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing the large-scale, high profile, incentivized prize in five areas: Learning; Exploration;Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Scientists. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing CHALLENGE, and the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.

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The day was something we all enjoyed, we were all well treated by the Space Centre staff and I really recommend that you all try and see the film “Back to the Moon for good” regardless of your interest in space travel it is both informative and entertaining.

I know my family and I will be following the progress of the Google Lunar XPRIZE and are excited for the year 2015 when hopefully we will see the launching of the robots into space.

I am super excited to see who the winning team will be, I do have a soft spot for the Part time scientists now after meeting Robert. Though I seriously wish we had a British team in the running.

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My day was rounded up by a statement  my youngest daughter made. She asked me to buy her a keyring with an image of the space footprint on it. When I asked her why she replied “It was to remind herself that all things are possible. That years ago many would have thought a man on the moon would be impossible so who knows what the future will bring. “ I thought this was pretty awesome

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True Wonder

Last night I attended a show organised by the awesome pastor from our church at the Think Tank planetarium. The show was to explain to us the wonders of the universe, the stars, the galaxy’s and so much more.

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It has been known that I don’t really have a scientific bone in my body, I’m sure that’s not true but I do tend to glaze over very quick when someone starts using technical terminology. It’s strange as a young child I used to love biology and at times chemistry but physics, well let’s not go there.

Anyway back to yesterday the planetarium show was amazing, I was surprised by the amount of stars that fill the universe and how much more I actually didn’t know about, shepherd moons, stars bigger than the sun and so so much more.

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One of the reasons I moved away from learning about science when I was in college was the fact that I believe in an awesome God and a few tutors I have had along the way have been atheists and while I respect anyone’s opinion and always will, I struggled to listen to their version of the truth while in a learning environment.

So to hear about the stars and the wonder of the universe explained by our incredibly intelligent pastor was as they say a breathe of fresh air.

But what I really took home with me from the evening was simply WONDER.

The wonder of God’s creation.

Evan spoke of scientists who have learnt about matter and energy but cannot yet recreate it.

Have learn of the beauty of the human body, the genetic makeup of each organ and cells yet cannot breathe life into existence.

A blade of grass so simple and so perfect, we can know it, we can understand it, yet we cannot create it.

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This is where I find the wonder of the universe in the unknown.

When there are no answers we find the answer.

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

and by the breath of his mouth all their host. (Psalm 33:6 ESV)”

God is the only answer we need.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 ESV)

It is here I find my wonder.

Yes I find beauty in the nights sky

The innocent in the birth of a new baby

The world is full of beauty!

It can be found in love and laughter,

It can be found in people and friendships.

Yes the universe is full of wondrous things.

Yet for me my wonder, my awe is in my God.

My Saviour

My friend.