Cosmomania: journey into space history
On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to be placed into orbit around Earth, sparking off the space race between the US and USSR. To celebrate 50 years of the space age, the exhibition 'Cosmomania: the incredible adventure of Space', is being staged at Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse.
The exhibition starts on 4 October 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Sputnik launch and ends on 6 January 2008. With its 400 square metres, the exhibition recounts 50 years of spaceflight and presents space missions, scientific instruments and the visionaries who changed our world with their ideas, their imagination and their knowledge.
Cosmomania is a tour in which visitors can take part in an exciting journey through time and space. By presenting some of the key events in space exploration, and inserting the achievements and failures in their historical, scientific and social context, the exhibition will provide the public with a unique space experience.
The exhibition starts with ‘PreamBubble’, an area where the public can discover the Sputnik 1 assembly lab. This is followed by ‘the Bubbles’, an exciting journey through different areas where visitors can ‘experience’ some of the most important events in space exploration.
Cosmomania describes and illustrates the remarkable milestones that have taken place in the past 50 years: 1957, the launch of Sputnik; 1961, the triumph of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space; 1969, the first man on the Moon; 1979, the launch of the first European launcher Ariane; 1997, the launch of the European Huygens probe for a seven-year flight to Titan and the most distant landing ever achieved; and 2003, the flight of the first Chinese cosmonaut.
By displaying images of launchers, astronauts, the Moon landing, Earth in space, and the stunning landscapes of Mars and Titan, the public learn more about the space age and can understand its challenges, importance and impact on society.
The exhibition aims to give to the public a three-dimensional vision of space: space as a unique human, scientific and technological adventure; space as an indispensable tool for penetrating the secrets of the Universe and increase understanding of the Earth; and space as a new arena for international cooperation.
As well as describing the last 50 years, from the early days of Sputnik to the present, from heroic human spaceflights to pioneering robotic planetary missions such as Giotto and Huygens, Cosmomania also focuses on the next 50 years and the role of space science and technology. The cosmic tour ends with two themes that have haunted the imagination of mankind since antiquity: the human exploration of Mars and space tourism.
The exhibition is organised by the Cité de l’Espace, Cap Sciences and the Cité de Sciences et de l’Industrie and supported by ESA. Other partners include the French space agency, CNES, the French Ministry of Defence, Eads-Astrium, Thales Alenia Space, Arianespace, Aon Space and GIFAS.
In 2008 the Cosmomania exhibit will move to Paris, where it will remain on display from February to May; from June until November the exhibit will be on display in Bordeaux.