Planets, stars, and millions of galaxies are some of the things we know about space, and that’s just the surface. Located in Delta’s Tsawwassen Mills, the multisensory outer space exhibit Stargazer shows attendees a new visual and sensory experience of things beyond Earth through graphics, sounds, and virtual reality.
Otherwise known as Stargazer: An Immersive Universe, the exhibit was designed by Sensea Immersive, the same organizer that offered The Da Vinci Experience at Tsawwassen Mills last year. Graphics and information were gathered from Sensea and were curated by the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre.
The space exhibit includes five experiences for guests to enjoy, including a timeline of the “space race,” which was the competition that lasted almost 20 years between the United States and the Soviet Union of who could land on the moon first and the best technology in space.
Some of the other experiences are an immersive room with a 270-degree wall and floor projected video, a Space to Spoon exhibit that “demonstrates how space technology benefits Canadian farmers and sustainable agriculture,” a recreation of the Apollo Lunar Module, and a virtual reality production that lets people step inside the role of an astronaut and lift off to the moon.
Sash Navjee, the assistant general manager for Sensea Immersive, says the company chose these exhibits to help people understand how the future could look in terms of travelling to space.
“We want to go to the next level. We want to see the future into space,” Navjee says. “People want to have a good understanding of how we are going to go to space in the future, how it’s going to look like in the future, the visionary about it.”
When the exhibit opened up, he says it was slow at first due to provincial restrictions being lifted and people were not ready to go to in-person events yet. However, he says he can see the exhibit getting “really slammed” over the summer months.
Since the exhibit focuses on multisensory elements and educating people through a unique perspective on space, Navjee says the benefits of an immersive experience in education are re-imagining the way we think about the earth, inspiring curiosity about the universe, and sparking the imagination.
“One of the most important outcomes of space exploration is how we think about Earth,” Navjee wrote in a follow-up email to The Runner. “Through an immersive experience as a simulation, we can get a better understanding of how our Earth has changed because of space exploration.”
“Stargazer also reflects on the technological advancements and innovations to take us beyond our solar systems. The size of Space is difficult to fathom, this immersive experience ways to communicate relative Scale understanding,” he wrote.
Out of the five experiences at Stargazer, Navjee says virtual reality is his favourite for how well it can make people feel connected to the subject they are learning about and how different it is from other traditional learning methods.
“We bring people into the real footage and [into] a 360-degree virtual experience in the International Space Station,” he says. “You really get the feeling like you’re right there with the astronauts working on the space station.”
Navjee hopes people will understand where space exploration can lead and how technology can make people feel connected and be “struck by everything” without going to space.
“We want to get people [inspired], get connected, get immersed into space,” Navjee says. “Technology can bring something like you don’t have to be in space to really get that feeling of being in an immersive environment.”