Local News

Planetarium Space Program Blasts Off

Posted September 28, 2006 8:25 a.m. EDT

— Area residents don't have to spend millions to experience outer space -- only the $5.25 cost of a ticket to Morehead Planetarium.

The planetarium on the University of North Carolina campus launched "Destination: Space," a multimedia show that examines the history and future of America's space program, from the moonwalkers of the 1960s to NASA's current plans to send astronauts to Mars.

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    Astronaut Charlie Duke, a Charlotte native who is one of only 12 men ever to walk on the moon, planned to help with the show's premiere.

    "It was 34 years ago, but I can remember almost every step," Duke said of his experience aboard the Apollo 16 mission. "Three days of adventure -- 'What's over that ridge?' 'Look at this rock!'"

    The show is narrated by former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, who gives viewers a look at the space program from every angle -- both the successes and the failures.

    "A program like this encourages people to look beyond barriers and boundaries," planetarium director Todd Boyette said.

    The show not only takes viewers back in time, it also returns the planetarium back to its roots. In the 1960s and 1970s, astronauts came to Chapel Hill to learn celestial navigation at the planetarium.

    The show ends by providing viewers a glimpse at NASA's future programs.

    "Eventually, someone's going to step on Mars, and they're going to have the same excitement of 'Look at the rock!'" Duke said.