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Found in Space: An Intergalactic Adventure

Not so long ago – 17 years to be exact – in a galaxy that’s actually right here, humans went into space and never left. Since November 2000, humans have lived and worked in space every moment of every day. To celebrate humans’ continuous presence in space, the National Air and Space Museum and Brightest Young Things hosted Found in Space last Saturday, November 4.

As an after-hours event, something about going to the Air and Space Museum in the dark seemed appropriate. Walking through the entrance, I was greeted by strobe lights, nearby pounding club beats and people dressed in their best space gear, including someone completely encased in an astronaut suit of balloons.

To start my intergalactic adventure, I veered towards the IMAX theater where the 16-minute Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), a famous 1902 French silent film created by Georges Méliès, was played. The film was revamped with color and a new, original soundtrack by AIR.

Shortly following the film was a presentation by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Bobak Ferdowsi, who discussed all the missions that involved sending robots to different planets in our galaxy and beyond. A scientist known for his funky hair (he was sporting a partially blue mohawk on this occasion), he cracked jokes about Matt Damon not actually having been on Mars while wowing viewers with sun backlit pictures of Saturn. Audience members were also reminded that to keep these missions going, people’s excitement and engagement about space was vital.

After my IMAX experience, I helped myself to a complimentary, grapefruit-infused SKYY vodka soda. Other options included SKYY specialty cocktails and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Wandering through the exhibits, I passed photo booths that transported people to space, makeup artists painting galaxies on faces and even had a space creature walking on stilts sneak up behind me as I took a picture. People danced in both wings of the museum as they helped themselves to Killa Cakes and Sasya samples, or grabbed cotton candy and snow cones.

My Air and Space Museum adventure ended with a walk through favorite exhibits open during normal hours like “Exploring the Planets” and “Golden Age of Flight,” where I was once again blown away by the vastness that is space and humanity’s incredible journey into the last true frontier.

Experience your own intergalactic adventure at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, free and open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (DC): Independence Avenue at 6th Street in SW, DC; 202-633-2214; www.airandspace.si.edu

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Natalia Kolenko

Natalia is a George Mason University alum who studied Journalism and Environmental Science and Politics. She combines her background in news reporting with her love for music, art, and culture to write pieces on a variety of topics. Addicted to travel, X-files, and concerts.