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Southeast of San Francisco, on the way out to California's Central Valley, thousands of wind turbines dot the landscape of Altamont Pass. Mounted both in rows and individually, machines with large propellers catch the wind, turning round and round at different speeds. Learn how wind energy is generated and stored for use in this most peculiar area, and its impact on living things both near and far. At our last After Dark in our current home, the theme was Mars! On display the museum has a full-scale model of the Mars rover Curiosity, which arrived on the red planet Sunday, August 5. At After Dark, we had Martians, robots, and extraterrestrials in the crowd! There were Martian themed lectures, a live webcast, and activities like the Egg Drop, where visitors practiced landing a homemade Rover safely onto the ground. Red skies at night offer fun and delight. How do you work with a robot millions of miles away to make scientific discoveries on a planet you've never set foot on? How do scientists and engineers begin to "see like a rover"- and what can this tell us about who we are as meaning-making creatures? Find out how, by studying the team behind the rover mission, we learn about more than just the surface of Mars. Watch as comedian/musician Reggie Watts improvises an ending to the Mars webcast on August 9th, 2012. Take to the skies on board the zeppelin Eureka with pilot Andrea Deyling of Airship Ventures and get a crash-free course in lighter-than-air flight: What’s the difference between an airship, a blimp, and a zeppelin? How do they stay aloft? How high and how fast can they fly?
Airship Ventures operates the only commercial passenger airship operation in the United States. To find out more go to www.airshipventures.com. What would it be like on Mars? Get a sense of Martian living with Exploratorium scientist Paul Doherty. He'll introduce the capabilities of the new rover and demonstrate what the planet would look, smell, and feel like to someone on the ground. Learn how things would fall, how they'd burn, and the shape a Martian snowflake should take in a snowstorm. An audiovisual experience on board the Airship Eureka, the only Zeppelin operating in the Americas.
For more information on the Airship Eureka or to find out how you can go up in a zeppelin, go to http://www.airshipventures.com/.
Music by Wayne Grim. Mechanical Engineer Armen Toorian explains that the wheel tracks of the Mars rover Curiosity are used to determine how far the rover has travelled on the red planet. Lead Curiosity Driver Matt Heverly and Research Scientist Bethany Ehlmann elaborate on the unusual working conditions involved with a Mars rover expedition. Research Scientist Bethany Ehlmann and Mechanical Designer Scott McGinley explain some of the scientific instruments aboard the Mars rover Curiosity.