I was honored to be hired to cover the One Strange Rock event at the Liberty Science Center by National Geographic.
What would you give to put on a space helmet and see the world from an astronaut’s point of view?
When the invitation came in for my boys and I to visit the Liberty Science Center to have an experience with Space Projection Helmets, I was immediately intrigued. Space is so fascinating and the thought of being able to wear what astronauts wear and see what they see, I knew my boys would be as excited as I was for this opportunity. An opportunity that would only be available for one night as the Liberty Science Center joined with National Geographic to introduce their new series, One Strange Rock.
With our interests piqued, we set off last Friday night for an adventure like none we’ve had before. While I knew we wouldn’t be leaving this planet, we were still in for an out-of-this-world experience with National Geographic’s Space Projection Helmet and an event to celebrate the launch of the new television series, One Strange Rock.
About the National Geographic Space Projection Helmet
National Geographic created the Space Projection Helmet to make it possible for those of us on Earth to see what astronauts see when they are in space. The limited-edition space helmet has been traveling the country on tour to schools and planetariums, including New Jersey’s own Liberty Science Center.
This isn’t virtual reality, the Space Projection Helmets offer more…
“We were inspired by the innovative storytelling, mesmerizing footage and the unique accounts of astronauts to create a specialized viewing mechanism that would elevate and emulate their first-hand experience,” says Jill Cress, chief marketing and brand officer, National Geographic Partners. “The OSR Space Projection Helmet furthers National Geographic’s commitment to use technology to make science fun, entertaining, and accessible to new audiences.”
Unlike virtual reality headsets, the Space Projection Helmet offers an exceptionally wide view so the user, us in this case, can easily move our head inside of the dome to look around, just as an astronaut would within their helmet in space. It did not feel tight or limiting at all. The mind-blowing images we saw were the result of a unique combination of laser projection, custom fish-eye optics and in-built audio. For a brief moment in time, we watched the trailer to One Strange Rock while feeling like an astronaut.
Here’s a brief look at what it was like and what we saw as astronauts with Space Projection Helmets
One Strange Rock premieres Monday, March 26th from 10 pm Eastern/ 9 pm Central, on the National Geographic Channel with a one-hour primetime episode.
About the brand new One Strange Rock National Geographic Series
Hosted by Will Smith, One Strange Rock is a mind-bending, full-sensory journey that explores the fragility and wonder of our planet. It’s the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth, brought into perspective by the only people to have left it behind: astronauts. This 10-part series, which was filmed across 45 countries, on six continents and from outer space, reveals the twists of fate that have allowed life to emerge, survive and thrive on Earth.
One Strange Rock is executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel from Protozoa Pictures and Jane Root and Arif Nurmohamed from Nutopia and features astronauts Nicole Stott, Jeff Hoffman, Leland Melvin, Mike Massimino, Peggy Whitson, Jerry Linenger, Chris Hadfield and Mae Jemison.
8 Reasons to watch One Strange Rock
Learn things you didn’t know you didn’t know. Did you know that icebergs make a sound when they are melting or moving? I won’t reveal what it sounds like but by listening to them scientists are able to predict when an avalanche will occur.
Understand how what happens there really affects what happens here. One of the astounding things that an astronaut can see from space is the desert sandstorms of Africa. It’s enough to make astronaut, Chris Hadfield stop in his tracks and just stare out. You can watch the sand travel through the air over the continents and ocean to as far as the Amazon Rainforest. It’s that sand that actually helps fertilize the tropical forest.
Get introduced to new countries and cultures. National Geographic’s One Strange Rock was filmed across 45 countries, on six continents and from outer space. During the first episode we saw scenes from Norway, Brazil, East Africa, and other foreign countries.
Hear from a new narrator. Will Smith, musician, actor, entertainer brings his talents to television in a whole new way as the narrator for One Strange Rock. Aronofsky said. “His charisma, intelligence and humanity will add greatly to the project, helping welcome viewers into this unique narrative about the mind-blowing wonders that make life on Earth possible.” I agree. Will’s enthusiasm and ability to connect to others will benefit National Geographic’s show connect with new audiences and get them excited about learning.
Meet a diverse group of astronauts and scientists. As I watched the episode of One Strange Rock I was impressed with the diversity of the astronauts, scientists and others we hear from. The diversity crossed cultures, countries, genders, and days in space.
Be amazed by fascinating facts. In the first One Strange Rock episode we learned that marine snow never melts. It just collects on the ocean floor causing the sea level to rise. There are also are single-celled organisms, living in bodies of water, that you probably never learned about in science class before.
See the world as astronauts want you to see it. During that same first episode, one of the astronauts, Chris Hadfield, shared, “I wish everyone could see the world as I’ve had a chance to see it. We’re all crewmates on the same planet.” One Strange Rock gives non-astronaut viewers the best views of Earth from space.
Inspire your kids with outside-of-the-classroom learning. While my boys could have explored the Liberty Science Center for another hour after watching the initial episode of One Strange Rock, they wanted to jot down their notes instead. They took out there National Geographic journals and began to write about what they had learned.
From my pretween
The Earth – You may think that you don’t share anything but you share one thing the earth. Humans have been here for years. A lot of things have changed over the years but some things haven’t. In South America people have spent years building a tower to help you touch the sky. When you are all the way up you will see wind and water particles making a flying river! It’s really amazing to watch. Far away in the frozen part of the world, if you put something in the water and put on special headphones that are connected you can hear lots of bubbles. When you hear them go rapid you will see a glacier of ice fall, and its time to eat for the diatoms. With out the oxygen in our home we would all die. So thank the oxygen and thank the Earth.
From my tween
Oxygen. It’s something you don’t usually think about, but it truly is an amazing process.
You think oxygen comes from trees? Well, that’s only part of it. The other part is from diatoms, which are tiny, little specks of life deep in the ocean. Speaking of oceans, the biggest river is in the sky. It comes from an enormous sandstorm in South Africa. It flies over the Atlantic Ocean and on to the damp surface of the Amazon in South America. This sandstorm is the ideal fertilizer for new plants. You can’t see it yet water is flowing through these trees. When the plants drop the water it evaporates into clouds. This is the largest river. The gigantic cloud soars over to the Andes Mountains, where it starts to rain, rain, rain. The rain mixes with rocks and dirt it finds as it rushes down the mountains. The muddy water then drops into the Atlantic Ocean. The murky water is the sheer food of the diatoms. The diatoms produce two things: oxygen and more diatoms. They then release the oxygen for all to breath.
Fun Fact: different organisms change the color of the ocean depending on which of the part of the ocean they’re in. Outstanding, really. Making oxygen is an unquestionably wondrous process that keeps us all alive. Although too much could inflame the world and too little could cause us to choke to death.
The craziest, brain-bending planet in the universe might just be Earth. We all live on one strange rock.
Take a look at this One Strange Rock trailer to get a glimpse of what you can expect.
Learn more about One Strange Rock at any of these links:
- The National Geographic channel site, channel.nationalgeographic.com/one-strange-rock
- The National Geographic channel Twitter account, twitter.com/natgeochannel
- The National Geographic TV Facebook page, facebook.com/natgeotvUS
Will you join us in watching One Strange Rock on Mondays on National Geographic?
One Strange Rock premieres on the National Geographic Channel Monday, March 26!