The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center pays tribute to two famous New Hampshire space pioneers: Christa McAuliffe, NASA's teacher-in-Space, and Alan Shepard, America's first astronaut.
Redstone Plaza features a full-sized replica of a Mercury-Redstone Rocket and an interactive exhibit telling the story of the Space Race and Alan Shepard's 1961 flight as the first American-in-Space. Inside is a large-scale model of a space shuttle, complete with external fuel tank and rocket booster, and a replica of the Mars Rover, named "Marvin the Martian."
A 103 seat theatre uses state-of-the-art Digital Sky technology, a full-dome video system, and a database of over 110,000 stars and planetary objects.
Exhibits include a a virtual expedition to Mars, a weather forecasting exhibit, and a look at Earth in comparison to planets and moons in our solar system, and an exhibit on the moon and a moon mural courtesy of NASA's the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NH space-grant funded student interns have recently expanded the exhibits to include a laser transmitter beam and shake table in the Mars/LRO exhibit.
Community events include Aerospacefest, an annual festival of exhibits and activities related to space and aeronautics, and monthly Sky Watches, co-hosted with the New Hampshire Astronomical Society. And the first Friday of each month is Superstellar Friday, with guest speakers on current science topics.
Summer programs include on-site science camps for a wide range of student age and interests. During the school year, a NHSGC-supported student intern worked with middle- school students on a Lego Mindstorms after-school project.
Student guests are also encouraged to apply for a scholarship to to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Thus far, this scholarship fund created memory of Alex Higgins, has sent 56 New Hampshire children and teens to camp.
And they're living green -- they were recognized with an Energy Efficiency in State Government award for realizing a 34% reduction in energy consumption, largely by upgrading theater technology and installing LED cove lighting. Their new facility is designed to exceed environmental standards by 20%, making use of recycled materials and minimizing environmental impact.