IOWA CITY — The final frontier is coming to the Englert Theater this weekend.
The Englert is hosting Spacetacular on Saturday (7/7) an all-day celebration of America’s space exploration legacy hosted by a group that hopes to bring a space museum to Johnson County.
The event is not a fundraiser — all Spacetacular activities are free and open to the public — but rather a way for the group to gauge interest in potentially creating an Iowa Space Science Center, according to Director Charles Miller.
Miller is most excited about the event’s 7:30 p.m. presentation by Don Gurnett, a University of Iowa professor, and author Andrew Chaikin, one of the leading authorities on the history of the American space program.
Chaikin is best known for writing the book “A Man on the Moon,” which formed the basis for HBO’s television miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.”
“His books are the gold standard for the history of the space program,” said Miller.
The Spacetacular also is screening the movie “Apollo 13″ at 3 p.m, giving many of the events of the day an Apollo theme.
“When you look at Apollo, it’s a stunning technical and human victory over odds, even when it failed,” Miller said.
Families with younger children will have the chance earlier in the day to watch a planetarium demonstration inside an inflatable dome.
The dome, which was donated by the University of Iowa physics department, is part of Miller’s efforts to raise more interest and awareness in space science among younger generations, a long-term goal of his proposed center.
“There’s going to be a tripling of retirements of scientists in the next decade, and polls show diminished interest in physics and math,” he said. “We used to have this great incubator, we need to recapture that excitement.”
Families can reserve a time in the planetarium by calling the Englert box office at (319) 688-2653. More information on the event can be found at http://www.iowaspacescience.org.