Toulouse’s Cité de l’Espace is celebrating its 25th anniversary this Saturday with a free entertainment. These animations, accessible to the general public, make the site a success, as they often make it possible to popularize very complex scientific concepts. We publish behind the scenes with the person in charge of this exhibition.
Do you dream of walking on the moon? Put yourself in the place of Thomas Pesquet on the International Space Station? Thanks to the curiosity and ingenuity of the animation designers at Toulouse’s City de l’Space, each one is more incredible than the next. We asked 3 questions to Ade Lesti, Head of Exhibition and Heritage Department.
We choose a subject and we have a journalistic approach. We start by researching the basics of the subject. For example, in the search for Mars, this is the news that led us to explore rovers on Mars.
We were interested in building robots, and then in Cité de l’Espace we cross-referenced our data on what makes our DNA: bring visitors as close to these robots as possible and in a completely realistic environment, it’s gear, rock. And their color. The idea is to similarly recreate this environment for a concrete and completely immersive experience.
This is a real challenge. A real technological breakthrough for those who make them. To take the example of robots, we asked space agencies, laboratories and manufacturers to recreate these robots for us. These are not just makeup. They work almost like real. Here in the space city, they work every day and they move in the same way as they send into space.
There is nothing left of opportunity. Visitors must have the feeling of being with them on Mars. The environment is also very important. The stones were sculpted and drawn from pictures and information that came directly from the scientists’ observations. The domes, which serve as garages for rovers, are air-conditioned in summer, heated to protect robots in winter. Scientists and the entire aerospace industry are urged to get as close to reality as possible through the latest technology.
It took about two and a half years between the start of the project and its finalization and the site only took 7 months. This is exactly the time taken by the Perseverance Robot to travel between Earth and Mars.
What’s better is that we don’t have any scientific training. We just have a huge appetite and curiosity for the space domain and I think that’s what makes us strong.
During the preparation, we ask the scientists questions that any visitor can ask. And experts agree to limit this complex content so that it is understandable to as many people as possible. The idea is to make the issue relevant and accessible to everyone, including the youngest.
Over the years, we have worked on many topics and we have given viewers the opportunity to access completely isolated space news thanks to these animations, launchers, manned flights, the moon and now Mars.
During Thomas Pesquet’s Alpha Mission, we were able to answer all his questions about life on the ISS board. And it will be similar to our next exhibition, which will open in the summer of 2023 on the Artemis mission, marking the return of humans to the moon. This device will be able to mimic the sensations felt by astronauts while traveling from Earth to the Moon. It’s a journey that very few people will take in the next few years, and for those who will one day take this step, it’s great to be able to establish themselves.
Like all of our activities at Cité de l’Espace, the Artemis mission-ready viewers will be able to see, experience and understand the return of humans to the moon on the horizon of 2025, from the first automatic flight without anyone on board. , Going through the flight around the moon. Each of these steps will be followed with new information for each visitor.
Concrete, the original, has been the DNA of City de l’Space in Toulouse for 25 years. It is also a mockery of its undeniable success.
So if you are passionate about space or just curious, don’t miss this Saturday, June 25th meeting. Cité de l’Espace extinguishes its 25 candles. For the event, access to the entrance and animations will be free. They promise a hell of a trip with your head.