Exhibitions at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
2019 Special Exhibitions
To the Moon!
To the Moon! opened on July 20, 2019 with a full-day celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11!
On July 20, 50 years ago, humans first set foot on the Moon. The Discovery Center team is hard at work on designing and bringing on partners to collaborate with us on To the Moon!, our special exhibition on lunar science and exploration, past, present and future. With deepest thanks to Jane’s Trust and NH Space Grant Consortium for their support and Drs. Andrew Jordan, Harlan Spence, and Wouter De Wet for content and 3-D models of the six Apollo landing sites, To the Moon! includes an ‘underground’ lunar colony based at the Moon’s South Pole, a toddler lunar exploration area, lunar photography and artwork including entries in our Kids’ Art Contest, Space Race memorabilia, current lunar science discoveries, Apollo landing sites, and lunar maker stations.
Our friends at NHPBS have created a special documentary, NH in Space, which will be featured at our special celebration on Saturday, July 20. Our sincere thanks to Platinum Sponsor Associated Grocers of New England and Silver Sponsors Rath Young & Pignatelli and Physical Sciences Inc. for their support of this celebration!
We will continue to add to this exhibition over the next two years, as February 5, 2021 will be the 50th anniversary of NH’s own Admiral Alan B. Shepard, Jr.’s first steps on the Moon. So please plan to be here on July 20, and then to visit again and again to see what’s new!
A satellite designed by students, engineers and scientists at the University of New Hampshire to detect gamma rays - the dangerous rays that comprise the most energetic component of the electromagnetic spectrum - and determine their sources. CATSAT met all the criteria NASA required, but was unable to deploy due to a problem with NASA’s launch vehicle. This 100% NH designed and built satellite is now on display in its new home at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, courtesy the University of New Hampshire.
Lunar Recon: Spacecraft, Craters, and Cosmic Rays
This exhibition focuses on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Earth's only natural satellite, the Moon. Two twelve-foot murals of the nearside and farside of the lunar surface grace the entry to the exhibition, which centers on LRO's Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation( CRaTER) experiment. This exhibit has been developed in partnership with the University of New Hampshire and NASA.
New Hampshire's Mineral Treasures
Amateur mineral collector Tom Mortimer has been field collecting minerals for over 35 years and his expansive collection of New Hampshire Minerals is now at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Browse through the 255 of 294 known mineral species found in New Hampshire on the interactive touch screen and view the corresponding sample lit up in the display. More information about the exhibit and all of the New Hampshire mineral species can be found at http://www.mindatnh.org/. The New Hampshire's Mineral Treasures is generously on loan from the Mortimer Family Trust.
Picture Yourself in Infrared
Step in front of the infrared camera and see yourself in infrared light. Infrared light is outside the part of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to humans, but this exhibit contains a special camera that converts the infrared into an image we can see. The interactive touchscreen allows you to explore the electromagnetic spectrum and dig deeper into the uses of infrared light. The interactive software is also available online by clicking here. Funding for this exhibit has been generously provided by the Lincoln Financial Foundation.
Redstone Rocket Plaza
The BAE Systems Redstone Plaza features a full-sized replica of a Mercury-Redstone rocket surrounded by an interactive, multi-sensory exhibit that tells the story of New Hampshire hero Alan Shepard, his historic flight as the first American in space on May 5, 1961, and the story of the Space Race. Courtesy BAE Systems and NASA.
Riding the Waves of History
A history exhibit on the life and adventures of the Granite State's John E. Cooperider and their intersection with our namesake, Rear Admiral Alan B. Shepard. Cooperider was administrative assistant to four consecutive Secretaries of the U.S. Navy during the heady years of NASA's creation, the Space Race and the Cold War, during which time he got to know Shepard. The exhibit features images and artifacts from Cooperider's 20-year career with the U.S. Navy, including autographed flight documents from six of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, and some of the Discovery Center's exciting new Alan Shepard-related acquisitions, including a boat built by a 16-year-old Alan Shepard at Proctor Academy and photographs of Shepard during his Mercury and Apollo missions--even one of Shepard playing golf on the Moon!
Sunstruck: The Exhibit
Discover the sun and all its mysteries with this brand new hands-on, interactive display from the Michigan Science Center that explains the science behind solar energy and showcases the sun on a 3D screen!
Tribute to Two NH Heroes
Take a personal look at the two space pioneers to whom the Discovery Center is dedicated: America's first astronaut, Alan Shepard, and NASA's Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe. Generously funded by NASA.
XF8U-2 Crusader Jet
Originally built by Vought Aircraft, this particular Crusader – BU#140448 – has been refurbished to its original glory by Vought. Originally an F8U-1, this Crusader was the 5th airplane to come off of Vought’s production line and was the first production Crusader to be delivered to the US Marine Corps. Later, it was returned to Vought, which modified it into the second XF8U-2 prototype. This prototype underwent extensive flight testing. After being retired from service, it served as a gate guard at the Naval Air Station Dallas, was next exhibited by the Pate Museum (Borland TX), and then at the Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation before it was transported for exhibition here at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. Our thanks to Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Charlie Bass and the inimitable Harold Parker for their help in bringing this aircraft to Concord, NH.
Looking at Earth - Looking Beyond
Discover how we can image our universe, find out how Earth compares to other planets and moons in the solar system, learn about some cool New England scientists, see our planet in a whole new way and even try your hand at being a weather forecaster in this fully interactive planetary science gallery.
Space Shuttle Model
Discover a large-scale model of a space shuttle with an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, surrounded by actual items that New England astronauts brought with them into space. Experience life "on orbit" with a touch screen video interactive. Our thanks to NASA and to Astronauts Pam Melroy and Rick Linnehan for their contributions to this exhibit!
A full-sized model of the capsule that took Alan Shepard to space, this Mercury capsule looks so real you might never know it is a replica - suspended in our atrium!
KA1SKY Amateur Radio Station
This fully functional HF/VHF/UHF/Satellite amateur radio station demonstrates the use of radio waves, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The "HAM" radio allows voice transmission and Morse code on thousands of frequencies of various wavelengths. With the guidance of volunteer amateur radio operators, you can talk to other “hams” around the country as well as contact the International Space Station when it is in a favorable position. Learn more about this memorial station and its volunteers.
Across the Spectrum
Experience the electromagnetic spectrum like you never have before! Dial in a section of the spectrum and see, hear and even feel it! Made possible by NASA Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) Education and Public Outreach Program and the NH Space Grant Consortium.
Living and Working in Space
Experience some pieces of history as you learn how working in space relates to working here on Earth. NASA has loaned us some fascinating artifacts from the Space Shuttle era, including a space toilet, ejector seat, printer and CPU, a bolt to hold the shuttle transport system onto the launch pad pre-launch, a space treadmill and harness (to keep the astronaut from flying off!) and a shuttle tire. We also have some of the exploded nuts that held a bolt in place on the launch pad, courtesy Astronaut Lee Morin.
Earth from Space Poster Exhibit
See our home planet as you never have before! Beautiful satellite images of Earth can be seen in this poster exhibit courtesy the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution. Curriculum guides for middle and high school students, "zoomable" satellite images and much more are available on the exhibition's website www.earthfromspace.si.edu.
The Discovery Center's 103 seat theater uses state-of-the-art Digital Sky technology, a full-dome video system with a database of over 110,000 stars, stellar and planetary objects extending out to the edge of the known universe. View planetarium shows.