Voyage was introduced to the nation on
October 17, 2001, through a unique collaboration between Challenger Center
for Space Science Education,
The Smithsonian Institution, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Permanently installed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the one
to 10-billion scale model of the Solar System stretches 600 meters—the
length of six football fields—between the National Air and Space Museum
and the Smithsonian Castle.
The exhibition went through the same approval process as any new
installation on the National Mall, e.g., the World War II Memorial,
with needed authorization by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the
National Capital Planning Commission. The Commissions required a
seamless fusion of sculpture and science education, conveying an
aesthetic beauty worthy of placement on the National Mall.
The National Center
for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) launched the
Exhibition Replication Phase in summer 2006 for communities across the
nation and around the world.
But Voyage is more than just a scale
model Solar System and related educational materials and programs. It
grew from a team dedicated to science education in the greater context
of human curiosity and exploration. The vision for Voyage was
always a program big enough to impact how some appreciable percentage
of the human race views their world. The approach was to design a
permanent scale model Solar System exhibition and community-wide
programming that could be replicated and implemented at sites
world-wide. Our hope is to establish a network of 100 Voyage
communities by 2012, supported with ongoing programming and resources
from the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.
Voyage is dedicated to all those
generations of explorers that gave us our current understanding of the
universe, and its educational mission is to challenge the next
generation to take us where we have never been.
In writing these pages, I have tried to capture
the excitement and vision of the program team, and to accurately
reflect how the vision was realized. Regardless of your professional
background, I think The Story section may
forever change your perspective of home. The Models section will give you a deep
appreciation for our commitment to science education, and will likely
provide you a new way of looking at the world. The
Team section is dedicated to all the men, women, and institutions
that made the vision a reality.
If after reading these pages you gain a new-found
excitement about the greater world, the nature of science, and the
power of education, pass on the web site URL to colleagues, friends,
and family. Even if your community is not interested in a Voyage
program of their own, your community’s educators could likely benefit
from these Voyage in DC pages. You may also want to check out
from time to time the National
Center for Earth and Space Science Education web site. We have lots
of offerings in store for parents, students, teachers, and the public.
New programs will be rolled out through mid-2007, each capable of
taking entire communities to the frontiers of exploration.