A 1:2 scale model of the Mars 3 spacecraft in the Powerhouse Museum collection. The model shows Mars 3 in its interplanetary cruise configuration with the lander tucked under the conical atmospheric entry heat shield at the top of the orbiter. Collection Powerhouse Museum
When the Powerhouse Museum opened in 1988, its Space-beyond this world exhibition included several replica Soviet spacecraft on loan from the then Soviet Academy of Sciences. Amongst this collection of reproduction spacecraft was a 1:2 scale model of the USSR’s Mars 3, the first spacecraft to make a successful touchdown on the surface of Mars.
Continue reading ‘Missing Russian spacecraft, Mars 3 may have been found’
This time of year is one of consumable abundance in Australia. We are encouraged to indulge in large quantities of high calorie, highly processed sugar-rich foods; and to consume alcohol. Although a legal and celebrated intoxicant, alcohol is a strong mood altering drug, and consumption levels can be quite difficult to gauge. Intoxication in individuals can vary greatly, depending on weight, health, tolerance, and state of mind at the time of consumption; however, the New South Wales Police have adopted and enforce the maximum level of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood be under .05 grams to legally operate a vehicle on a public road. Some individuals may drive a vehicle knowing that they are likely over this limit; others may have no real idea – having consumed alcohol in a socially accepted and sometimes expected manner. This may well ruin their Christmas and New Year holidays!
Continue reading ‘You Better Watch Out – NSW Police Random Breath Testing’
Sony Mavica FD-91 digital camera taken apart
This camera, a Sony Mavica FD-91 is a remarkable display object, as testified by more than a decade on display in our Cyberworlds gallery. Not only was it purchased and purposefully dismantled (or exploded) to display the mechanism and electronic engineering of the camera, but it stands as a crossover piece between things that are built from materials (plastics, metals, electronics) and things that are birthed from objects like it; things that are ‘born digital.’ It was collected and remains an important teaching tool for a range of age groups.
Continue reading ‘Explosion… A Sony Mavica guide to digital migration’
Sokol KV-2 spacesuit worn by Soviet cosmonaut Gennadi Manakov in 1990. Image Courtesy Powerhouse Museum
Previously, my colleague Margaret Simpson wrote about clothing worn during Douglas Mawson’s 1911-1914 expedition in the extreme environment of Antarctica. Space is also an extreme environment that requires its explorers to wear a specialised garment for survival: the spacesuit. A spacesuit is like a miniature spacecraft in itself, designed to protect the wearer from the harsh vacuum environment of space while conducting an extravehicular activity (‘spacewalk’), or in the event that the life support system of their spacecraft fails.
Continue reading ‘History Week 2012 Threads – Dressed for Space’
Neil Armstrong’s official Apollo 11 astronaut portrait. Courtesy of NASA
In July, just after the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, I wrote a blog post about the passing of first US woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride. Little did I imagine at the time that a month later I would find myself writing another blog to commemorate the passing of the commander of that mission, Neil Armstrong.
Continue reading ‘The Man who took that One Small Step-Neil Armstrong 1930-2012′
The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity Image courtesy NASA
At 3.32pm on Monday August 6, over a hundred people in the Museum’s Coles Theatre erupted in cheers as word came through on the live feed that we were watching from the mission control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California that NASA’s latest Mars explorer, the Curiosity rover, had landed safely.
Continue reading ‘On the Path to Curiosity’
Penicillium notatum samples. Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 99/30/1.
These two historic petri dishes are on display at the Powerhouse Museum during Ultimo Science Festival as part of the Science Snaps activity. The sample of green penicillin-producing mould on the left grew for one day and the one on the right for four days. Letters that complement the samples provide glimpses of the 1940s penicillin research project led by Australian-born scientist Howard Florey at Oxford University. They also give us some insight into the hardships faced by families in Britain during and after World War 2.
Continue reading ‘Penicillin mould from Howard Florey’s laboratory’
90/322 Machine Gun, Owen Mark 2/3, Lysaghts, Port Kembla, NSW, Australia, 1948 – Powerhouse Museum Collection
Firearms are a polarizing issue. The middle ground is a stripped no-man’s-land. The argument against prevalent gun ownership is of course more than ever legitimate. And honest gun ownership, confined to sportspeople, professional shooters and primary producers is provisional; and reasonable. Ownership outside these areas, except where the firearms have been irreversibly disabled, is criminal. One of the most fundamental reasons humans have designed and engineered firearms – for protection and self-defence – is not a legitimate reason for firearm ownership anywhere in Australia.
Continue reading ‘Guns and public opinion’
Dr. Sally K. Ride, first American woman in space, during the STS-7 mission in June 1983. Image courtesy NASA
This week we have said goodbye to Dr. Sally K. Ride, the first American woman to make a spaceflight and a passionate promoter of science and engineering education for girls, who passed away on July 23 after a seventeen month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Continue reading ‘Farewell Sally Ride, first US woman in Space (1951-2012)’
2001/55/1 Anatomical model, female abdomen and foetus, ‘obstetric phantom’, maker unknown, [United Kingdom],  Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Many objects in the Powerhouse Museum’s health and medicine collection have a visceral, unique and incidental beauty to them. The skull saw , the mortuary table, even the speculums. And some objects engender an inspired beauty in both form and function, such as the obstetric phantom.
Continue reading ‘Midwifery training simulator’