"I want to travel in space!" This dream feels like it has come true if you visit one of the many scientific events run in Japan. Children dream endlessly about going into space once they see in realistic footage the imagery of space revealed by various research projects, touch the actual equipment and training gear used by astronauts, and even ride on a bus or boat designed to look like a spacecraft.
The Space Ball "space sensory theater" where you can see the Earth from outer space and view other planets © TV-TOKYO
Feeling Like Floating in Space
The Space Ball as exhibited in a Tokyo cultural center © TV-TOKYO
A special ball-shaped planetarium was opened at a cultural center in Tokyo in December 2012. The Space Ball is a "space sensory theater" inside a ball around 9 meters in diameter. Visitors enter inside the ball and experience visual imagery that makes you feel like you are surrounded by space.
Inside the ball, a high-spec planetarium and 19 individual projectors cast seamless images of space all around. There is stereophonic sound and 360-degree images of the starry sky, even beneath your feet, which gives you the extraordinary feeling that you are floating in deep space. The scenes of outer space as seen from the Voyager interplanetary spacecraft that continues to travel towards the edges of the Milky Way Galaxy or scenes of the Earth at night as seen from the International Space Station (ISS) look so authentic that even astronauts who have been into space could easily mistake them for real things.
This ball-shaped planetarium was developed by Takayuki Ohira, a leading planetarium creator in Japan. Ohira created a similar type of ball-shaped planetarium in Estonia, but the Space Ball in Japan is a next-generation "mobile" type that can be moved from one place to another. Events using the ball are to be held in major cities across Japan during 2013.
Traveling for 13.7 Bil. Light-years Across Universe
A model of a near-future spacecraft, decorating the entrance to the Star Cruise Planetarium, enhances the mood of a space journey.
Another scientific event also produced by Ohira has been held every year since 2010 in a high-rise building in central Tokyo. These events proved so popular that they drew in a combined audience of 450,000 in 2010-2011. The 2012 event, titled the “Star Cruise Planetarium,” featured a journey on an extravagant spacecraft.
The theme involved traveling on a ship at the speed of light to the edge of the universe some 13.7 billion light-years away. The computer-graphic imagery incorporated the results of the latest research. The event showed the macrocosmos as a collection of several hundred billion galaxies like countless millet grains and what the Earth will look like in 30 billion years. Gazing at the 25-meter-wide screen, it seems like you really are looking at the planets through the window of a spacecraft and you can almost feel the pull of gravity as you attempt to move away from nearby planets. At the event hall, there is also a high-spec planetarium projecting images of 5 million stars, plus a walkway where you can move through a 3D model of the universe with stars represented by special tiny luminous bodies that are distributed in three dimensions. The event allows visitors to further their understanding of the universe from a range of different perspectives.
|Star Cruise Planetarium where you see such realistic images of planets you can almost feel their gravitational pull||
Sky Walk uses countless special luminous bodies to give a 3D image of the universe. (Star Cruise Planetarium)