While visiting NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center might not be as exciting as going into space itself, it gets close to it. Interactive exhibits with the latest technology not only teach guests the history of U.S. space exploration but also invite them to experience a part of it.
The government established the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1959 as the first space flight center, about 30 minutes outside Washington, D.C. Today, they focus on research about space, along with the Earth and how the sun and other planets affect our planet. The center is home to the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990 and still takes observations about the expanding universe.
The Visitor Center at the center allows everyone to come and learn more about the work that NASA is doing at Goddard. The GLOBE exhibit lets visitors know more about the planet we know the best, Earth, from the air to the soil. Visitors can also explore how satellites help us understand where we live, and the projects that Goddard satellites are currently working on. You can also learn more about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and past and future visits to the moon.
One must-see exhibit, which will transport you away from Earth, is Solarium. This large-scale multimedia art installation puts you right next to the Sun without any risk of burning up. You can see solar flares and layers of the solar atmosphere at eight times the resolution of an HD television, with video data taken from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The exhibits are not just limited to the indoors. Outside, you can learn more about the Earth’s atmosphere at the Ozone Garden, where ozone-sensitive plants let scientists know about changes in the protective gas-shield around Earth. Make sure you also visit the rocket graveyard, better known as the Rocket Garden. This spot is a perfect one for photos with real NASA artifacts, and you can get a spectacular view of the whole Goddard Space Flight Center campus.
The Visitor Center and gift shop are open daily. However, hours change seasonally, so make sure to visit the website or call before making your trip.
NASA’s Goddard Visitor Center allows visitors of all ages to travel to outer space without leaving Earth. Located only 30 minutes away from three major cities—Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis—the center features educational exhibits that showcase NASA’s innovative achievements in astrophysics, Earth science, and more. Interactive experiences include Solarium, a cutting-edge art installation that captures the sun’s surface, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which allows guests to participate in a simulated version of Apollo 14. More exhibits and programs are available throughout the year. Admission is free.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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