Before Science North’s iconic gyroscope experience was decommissioned earlier this year as part of a refresh of the science centre’s Space Place, we couldn’t help but bring our readers on one last ride.
(For a few laughs, watch our video of Sudbury.com’s slightly middle-aged editor Mark Gentili trying out the gyroscope while hoping he didn’t throw out his back in the process).
With Space Place reopening this month, including its new immersive simulation experience The Moonwalk, we of course had to return to Science North for another video shoot.
Watch our video above of Gentili trying out The Moonwalk, which basically looks like a giant jolly jumper, big enough for adults. He seemed to enjoy the experience, despite some decidedly tight straps surrounding certain body parts.
Visitors will experience what it’s like to move on the Moon using a weight-offset harness and gantry to simulate the one-sixth of Earth’s gravity that exists on the moon.
While the gyroscope had specific height and weight restrictions, The Moonwalk is available to people of a much larger range of body sizes, from kids to adults. It can be used by children who weigh as little as 35 pounds and adults who weigh up to 600 pounds. Wheelchair users with limited mobility can also use The Moonwalk.
“You actually get to kind of experience what it would be like to walk on the moon,” said Science North staff scientist Olathe MacIntyre.
“We offset five-sixths of your weight. You weigh one-sixth of what you would weigh on Earth. And we do that because the moon is a lot smaller than Earth, and so it has a lot less gravity. So when you're on the moon, you actually can't even really walk. You kind of do moreso hops.”
The Science North Space Place refresh includes a comprehensive update of its labs, spotlighting Canada's pivotal role in humanity's return to the Moon through the Artemis Program.
Artemis is “an international collaboration led by NASA that the Canadian Space Agency is part of,” said MacIntyre, who at one time was actually a Canadian astronaut candidate herself.
“We actually have two astronauts sort of trip booked with Artemis because of the many contributions we’re making to the Artemis program.”
Science North visitors will gain insights into contributions such as Canadarm3 to the Lunar Gateway Space Station, advancements in AI and lunar rover technology.
The initiative, supported by the Canadian Space Agency, is part of the 2022 "Exhibits to Engage Canadian Youth in Space Science through Hands-on Experiential Learning" funding call for proposals.
A press release said the revitalized experiences aim to inspire people of all ages, providing a platform to appreciate the substantial contributions Canadians make across various space science disciplines.
Heidi Ulrichsen is Sudbury.com’s assistant editor.