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(Keith Johnson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Alivia Castro (7), right, and Benito Archuleta (12) play with an interactive display at the new space exploration exhibit at Clark Planetarium, February 25, 2014 in Salt Lake City.
Clark Planetarium’s new exhibit explores future of space travel
NASA » The traveling exhibit will be open until March 3.
First Published Feb 25 2014 02:26 pm • Last Updated Feb 25 2014 10:35 pm

Humans may not yet be able to reach infinity and beyond, but the newest rockets are designed to get people to Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and even farther.

A traveling exhibit from NASA opened Tuesday that highlights the agency’s new Space Launch System, which delivers more thrust and capacity than any previous space vehicle. The interactive exhibit will be open until March 3.

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"Our nation is forging ahead on its next bold step in the human exploration of deep space, and we’re proud to be telling that story through this new exhibit," said Seth Jarvis, planetarium director, in a statement.

ATK also has updated the rocketry display at the Planetarium, showcasing how Utahns are helping humanity explore the cosmos.

"It’s thrilling to me that we will soon launch the rocket that will take humans to deep space," said NASA astronaut Tony Antonelli in a statement. "I, for one, will be ready and willing to fly on it."

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., Antonelli, SLS booster manager Alex Priskos, ATK Vice President Charlie Precourt and ATK Vice President of Next Generation Solid Rocket Booster First Stage Fred Brasfield will discuss the future of space exploration. Tickets are $2 for the general public and free to members.

On Thursday morning, an official opening event will take place at 11 a.m. and then Antonelli will work with some of the nearly 1,000 students who are scheduled to see the exhibit that day. He also will sign autographs.

ATK is creating the twin first-stage boosters for the heavy-lift rocket and its avionics. The company also makes the launch abort motor for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle’s launch abort system, a critical safety feature for the rocket. An inert launch abort motor will fly on Orion’s first mission later this year.

"NASA, ATK and other industry partners have achievable milestones this year for NASA’s heavy-lift rocket," said Priskos. "With Orion’s first mission in September, ATK’s booster test this year, and the first flight of SLS scheduled for 2017, Mars is within the reach of human spaceflight."


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