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MSU Museum’s Science on a Sphere Gallery Celebrates Grand Opening

Michigan State University Museum will celebrate its newest long-term installation, Science On a Sphere from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11. Science On a Sphere is a room-sized interactive system that uses the internet, computers and video projectors to visualize data onto a globe.

Developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, the system uses datasets from NOAA, NASA, universities, science centers and other organizations to explain complex processes along with maps of real-time data. Eventually, MSU students and faculty will share and visualize their own research on the sphere.

Visitors can explore the surface of Mars, look at weather patterns around the globe, watch a visualization of all the airplanes in the air at one moment worldwide and much more. The sphere can be controlled by Museum staff on an iPad or by visitors using a kiosk.

Three people looking at the sphere (earth) display.

The grand opening celebration features a preview of some of the upcoming public programs on the sphere. “Climate Clues: Visualizing Climate Change,” will debut as the first public show in the gallery on Saturday, Jan. 18. Get tickets and learn more about upcoming programs on the Eventbrite website under MSU Museum.

MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander notes, “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring Science on a Sphere to MSU and the mid-Michigan community. The Sphere is a dazzling arena for exploring big data, visualizing environmental transformation, human health and the impact of science and technology all around the world — in three dimensions and in brilliant, moving color images. Each day, as we discover more and more of what the system can do, it simply takes our breath away.”

Bringing Science On a Sphere to the MSU Museum was a collaborative process across campus, including expertise from Information and Technology Services and Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. The Sphere was generously supported by the MSU Federal Credit Union.

The MSU Museum is the science and culture museum at Michigan State University and the state’s first Smithsonian Affiliate. The museum features three floors of special collections and changing exhibits and is open six days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged).

Stephanie Palagyi and Penny Davis via MSU Today

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