Space Sciences


The Department of Space Sciences is responsible for the Museum's Scientific Instruments Collection. This collection is composed of instruments that have been used by Museum staff members, have been part of crucial experiments involving key scientists in their pursuit of knowledge, or are excellent type-examples of particular instruments.  In addition, the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets (presentations, video, visualizations) of use in research, public programs, and Space Odyssey.


The Department of Space Sciences was added as a core competency in 2001 during the conceptual design phase of Space Odyssey.  DSS assumed an integral operational support function once Space Odyssey opened in mid-2003.  This support includes multimedia content production by the Space Sciences Newsroom, development and maintenance of the Museum Galaxy Guide web portal, ongoing volunteer training, participation in the Space Odyssey Core Team, and provision of ongoing scientific expertise.  Such an extensive support role is unique across the Museum's core competencies.


Department of Space Sciences staff engage in world-class scientific research and are leaders in procuring external research funding for projects in:

  • Planetary science
  • Creation and educational utilization of virtual environments
  • Astrobiology
  • Instrumentation
  • Data visualization
  • Education research


The Department of Space Sciences is the Museum leader in delivering outreach programs to our community, making the Museum the place to be for participating in and learning about space exploration.  Outreach programs include:

  • Routine programs such as 60 Minutes in Space, Space Today, and Planet Earth Today
  • Public programs, like lectures, forums, facilitation of guest lectures/programs, and participation in Scientists in Action broadcasts
  • Space events including Shuttle launches/activities/landings, mission launches and key milestones, and "quick response" programs covering late-breaking events
  • Large Space Events like Mars Rover landings, Scott Carpenter Ambassador of Exploration Award, Deep Impact comet encounter, Cassini arrival at Saturn, and the Apollo 40th Anniversary
  • Targets of Opportunity (Orion Launch Abort System, Hubble WFPC2, public appearances by Space Shuttle crews)


Department of Space Sciences members serve the professional community as:

  • Editors of professional journals and popular publications
  • Members of professional committees and boards
  • Members of internal Museum committees, working groups, and core teams

Who We Are

The mission of the Department of Space Sciences (DSS) is to educate Museum visitors and our local community with accurate and scientifically sound information regarding space sciences. We accomplish this by communicating up-to-date space sciences information through the Space Odyssey exhibition and public programming. DSS includes research staff with expertise in planetary science, space science, astrobiology, and astrophysics.  Most of the department's collections are digital. The Space Sciences Newsroom is a digital media center with staff and volunteers who produce and maintain a collection of up-to-date resources used in Space Odyssey and space sciences programming.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no events


^ Back to Top