Planetarium premise: Man will set foot on Mars in 2030

Although the beginning of Family Weekend was cloudy and rainy, families were able to explore wonders that are out of this world in the Heinkemp Planetarium with the special presentation for “Manned Mission to Mars” on Oct. 23.

This presentation was given by juniors Zach Lindstorm, Hermes Ruiz, and Zach Schroder. To begin, the lights dimmed as a projection of the night sky and all its stars illuminated above the audience. ThenLindstrom and Ruiz kicked off the presentation by pointing out famous constellations, starting with the Big Dipper. The audience got to sit back and listen as Lindstorm and Ruiz explained the history and mythology associated with each constellation they presented. They shared the stories of famous Greek gods and goddesses such as Zeus and Hera and how they created each constellation that can be seen in the night sky.
Schroder then took over as he described details of NASA’s planned mission to Mars. NASA hopes to get the first people on the Red Planet by 2030. Schroder focused his part of the presentation on what has to happen before then.

“I thought that Mars would be an interesting topic to do a show on,” Schroder said. “Since most people don’t follow NASA, I figured that most people wouldn’t know much about the mission but would think that it would be a cool topic to learn about.”

All three students work in the planetarium, which presents shows to the public just about every month. The planetarium also gives private shows to schools around Eastern Iowa. This presentation is one that all three juniors have been working on since the end of last semester. It takes a lot of work to prepare each show. For example, Schroder read over forty pages from NASA to make sure his information was accurate before sharing it with the public.

“I really enjoy studying the planets and stars,” Ruiz said. “In the future we may experience it so it’s exciting for us to share this information with everyone.”

The Heinkemp Planetarium will be preparing for their next public show, “The Christmas Star” which will be presented by Ben Hedges and Marshall Jackson on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

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