When you carry out a survey among kids, mainly boys, asking what they want to be when they grow up, almost all of them will talk about becoming an astronaut and exploring the cosmos. Indeed, the universe is ever so fascinating and mysterious, and only a handful of the chosen managed to travel up there, or will have the chance to do so. Here in Prague, we are aware of how extraordinary spaceflights are, which is why the management of the Prague Planetarium didn't hesitate to pay over two million crowns to build a perfect life-size replica of the Eagle Apollo 11 landing module!
It's never too late to fulfill your childhood dreams. If you go for a walk in Stromovka, we urge you to make a stop. You can't miss the colossus, it stands right at the balustrade of the Planetarium and can be spotted easily. It's open to the public starting today, Saturday, July 20th. You can step inside and let the real fun begin - what awaits you here is an adventure the kind of which lights a spark in the eyes of every young boy.
"There are no more than two such models in the entire Europe, of which only the Prague one offers those interested a chance to peek inside, sit down, have a look at the historically correct equipment and feel like astronauts, even if you don't get to experience zero gravity here,"
says director of the Prague Observatory and Planetarium Jakub Rozehnal with a laugh, adding that the domestic production of a near replica took over 1.5 years to finish, with three people working on it.
Big Brother villa
We couldn't resist and stepped inside. Although it looks like a colossus from the outside, there's just a tiny space inside, where you can barely move. In short, no luxury. We couldn't even imagine that three people had to squeeze into such a small space, moreover in space suits! It seems even worse than participating in the Big Brother reality show.
Maybe that's why astronauts have to be physically fit and mentally sane. If you spend twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week in an enclosed space with another person, it makes you want to disconnect their tube from the oxygen supply.
Looking at the obsolete technology didn't inspire confidence in us either, but back then, the boys had no idea how sophisticated and luxurious computers would develop to be one day, and that we would be able to carry their mini-versions in our pockets.
"At that time, the computer had no screen, there is only a numeric keypad and numerals,"
laughs Rozehnal, getting entangled in explaining how the computer was used. Nowadays, it belongs to the prehistory of computers, but in its time it was a miracle of technology. Otherwise, nothing has changed since then, except for the equipment upgrade. The astronauts have space suits made from more breathable materials, better food and technology, but the flight technique itself has not changed at all. After all, there have been no flights to the Moon in the last 40 years.
Lunar rock samples to be had
As part of the exhibition honoring the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon, you also have a unique opportunity to examine and touch a sample of lunar rock. Štefánik's Observatory is the only place in the world offering such a chance. Thankfully, there's enough of it in the world, the Apollo crew collected 22 kilos back then!
A great leap for mankind
Just a reminder:
Apollo 11 launched from Earth on July 16, landing on the Moon on July 20, 1969 at 20:17. The astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first to emerge from the module. As he descended from the lowest rung of the ladder, he uttered a sentence, which remains famous to this day: