Philadelphia, PA, USA — Philadelphia’s The Franklin Institute is home to the nation’s second oldest planetarium. Although it is a historic cornerstone to museum, the Fels Planetarium continues to leap forward in technology standards. Now, nearly 80 years since the 1933 opening of the Fels Planetarium, The Franklin Institute has debuted the most technologically advanced show ever presented in the Planetarium – and the first full dome show every produced by The Franklin Institute, in partnership with Sky-Skan, the world’s leading manufacturer of immersive digital theaters.
Co-written and produced by The Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director Derrick Pitts, To Space & Back explores how our everyday lives are directly affected by the technologies developed for use in space exploration. Innovations such as alternative water purification systems and energy sources, turbine blades, home insulation, improvements in car safety and better fuel efficiency are all a result of space research and exploration, and all have directly impacted modern life. “Every time we use GPS, look at images of Earth from space on computers or even use our smartphones to connect with friends and family, we’re using technologies developed for space applications or connecting directly to satellites in orbit,” explains Pitts “To Space & Back allows us to engage audiences of all ages in the realization of the many ways in which space exploration impacts us.”
Projected in 4K resolution, at 60 frames per second on the 60-foot seamless dome of the Fels Planetarium, To Space & Back is a completely immersive experience showcasing the most advanced Planetarium technology. The show is narrated by BBC’s Top Gear host James May, and includes scenes shot right here in Philadelphia.
To Space & Back is being distributed worldwide, and will soon debut at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD; Melbourne Victoria Museum in Melbourne, Australia; New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, NJ; Tellus Museum in Cartersville, GA; Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, NY and SongAm Space Center, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
To Space & Back runs daily in the Fels Planetarium. General Museum admission includes one Planetarium show.