“Mars and Beyond: The search for life on other planets” presented by CenturyLink, is the first offering of Science Downtown, a nonprofit organization that has taken up residence in the Rialto Block exhibition hall. Science Downtown is dedicated to offering rotating science-based programs to Tucson and all of Arizona. Where once Tucsonans marveled at “Bodies,” “Titanic” and “King Tut” exhibits, they now can learn about our solar system’s planets, asteroids, and next steps planned for space exploration. This historic building is now a permanent exhibit hall for science-related exhibits which has now been renamed Science Downtown. The “Mars and Beyond: The search for life on other planets exhibit,” was created by the University of Arizona’s College of Science.
“This is very exciting for UA Science,” said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science. “To share our space exploration programs with the community and to be able to contribute to downtown’s surging revitalization is a double treat for our staff. Many of us will be on hand at Science Downtown regularly to help present our incredible journey to space. We want to especially thank Don Martin, chairman of Science Downtown, Fletcher McCusker, chairman and CEO of Providence Service Corp., and Kevin Madden, CEO of Madden Media, for making this exhibit happen. We also want to sincerely express our gratitude to the sponsors who helped underwrite the event.”
The University of Arizona College of Science has been a significant contributor to our nation’s space program and was the first university to lead a NASA mission to another planet (the recent Phoenix Mars Mission). The UA’s contributions to this country’s Space Program dates back to the 1960s and continues. In addition to the Phoenix Mars Lander, the UA developed the successful HiRISE high-resolution camera now orbiting and mapping the Red Planet from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and will manage NASA’s upcoming OSIRIS-REx roundtrip mission to acquire samples from a distant asteroid.
The College of Science has an extensive trove of museum-quality content, including mission replicas of the Phoenix Mars Lander and the HiRISE high-resolution camera that will be on display. The college also maintains a library of stunning photos and videos.
“Past science exhibits had very successful runs in Tucson and convinced us that Science Downtown could be a permanent exhibit hall,” said Don Martin, chairman of Science Downtown and co-owner of the historic Rialto Block, with the exception of the Rialto Theatre. “We are excited to partner with UA Science for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”