The new 'Space Adventure' exhibit is bringing space exploration down to earth in Chelsea. Celebrating man’s arrival on the moon, the exhibit features more than 300 original NASA items, including rare photographs, computers, artifacts and more, and aims to get a new generation excited about space travel.
The experience starts with a video presentation chronicling the history of humankind's trips to the moon, then takes you through several interactive rooms, where you can see the real food astronauts had to eat, their suits and models of lunar modules.
Throughout a visit to 'Space Adventure,' you can travel to the Houston Control Room, a Departure to the Moon room where you experience a simulated takeoff and end your time in the Lunar Landing Room, where you can feel what it was like for astronauts on the moon’s surface.
Nadene Berman Freeman, the co-manager of the exhibit, said the exhibit provides educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about space travel, whether you're a history buff or a curious child.
“This is a museum, it's recreational, it's interactive, it's immersive, and there is virtual reality,” she said. “People are in awe of it. They said that they feel like when they’re leaving, they feel like they've been to the moon and back.”
Freeman said people typically spend an hour or more at the exhibit.
“They're going to be stimulated with every sensorial feeling imaginable,” she said. “They're going to see so much. They're going to hear so much. ... They're going to feel it. They're going to see it. They're going to hear it.”
The exhibit is collaborating with Chelsea Public Schools to bring students to see the exhibit, Freeman said, along with visits planned with other organizations.
J. Kelly Beatty, senior editor of "Sky & Telescope," said many young people don’t remember the last mission Apollo astronauts took to the moon more than 50 years ago. From 1969 to 1972, Apollo carried a dozen astronauts to the surface of the moon.
“There was a time collectively and individually when we were hanging on every launch, we were watching every spacecraft go up. And it was a technological achievement for its time that really was unmatched," he said.
“What the 'Space Adventure' exhibit brings is, it brings back those memories in the tangible, visceral way of what it was like to go to the moon and how dangerous that undertaking was,” Beatty continued.
NASA’s new program for moon exploration, Artemis, is exploring the lunar surface for technological advancement and creating a long-term presence there. Its next human mission to the moon is scheduled to launch in 2025.
“It's a history-in-the making for a whole new generation of us,” Beatty said.
One of the benefits of the exhibit, he said, is that it provides actual artifacts and scale models so people can understand what it really took to get to the moon.
“Many people of my age, you know, remember those days and remember how exciting it was. And it gives them a chance not only to relive that themselves, but maybe to introduce it to their grandkids," Beatty said.
Matt Solomon, of Rehoboth, said he attended the exhibit because one of his sons, Emmett, loved anything to do with NASA.
“It was awesome. Crazy awesome. Epic,” Emmett said.
Stefany Garces, from Salem, never thought she’d get to see original space suits that astronauts wore. She said the whole exhibit was "a treat to the eye" visually.
“I'm a big fan of astronauts in space and that kind of thing,” she said. “So as soon as I saw it, I was like, wow, this is it, I have to go.”
Sally Rando, from Marlborough, said the whole experience was “well worth it.”
“I grew up in that era,” she said. “I mean, I remember when they landed on the moon in July of '69 and have followed it ever since.”
The exhibit, located at 121 Webster Ave. in Chelsea, is open until April 2, and is open seven days a week.