Edge of Space Mezzanine

The Edge of Space occupies the mezzanine area in the new Richard and Lois Gunther Depths of Space exhibit gallery. It provides visitors with an experience that bridges the more familiar Earth-bound orientation toward the universe with a more cosmic perspective informed by the most sophisticated astronomical instruments ever built. The zone showcases samples of the universe that come to Earth from space or that we acquire through space exploration.

Pieces of the Sky Lining the wall of this area are five tall alcoves that display and encourage interaction with the Observatory's extensive meteorite collection. Included are real Martian and lunar meteorites, along with the largest stone meteorite in California, comet dust, and an asteroid impact simulator.

Cloud and Spark Chambers In the center of the mezzanine are two instruments which measure the constant bombardment of the Earth by cosmic rays. The new cloud chamber is filled with alcohol vapor to track the paths of such particles, while the Observatory's refurbished spark chamber discharges each time a cosmic ray passes through its electrically-charged surface.

Our Moon Anchored by the Observatory's detailed six-foot moon globe, this exhibit features an Apollo Moon rock to show how our closest neighbor helps us better understand our own home and cosmic history. A scale lets visitors "cut" their weight to one-sixth what it would be on Earth.

At one end of the mezzanine, adjacent to the Our Moon exhibit, are the two entrances to the new 200-seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. The theater offers both formal programming and less formal demonstrations, talks, and other activities. The other end of the mezzanine is a staffed Guide Station where visitors can orient themselves and ask questions. Guide staff circulate among visitors throughout the exhibition, answering questions and conducting demonstrations.

Additionally, this mezzanine exhibit area provides the first glimpse of the lower level of the new Richard and Lois Gunther Depths of Space exhibit gallery.