Starting on July 1, the Hong Kong Space Museum will present a brand new service: 3D dome shows. Wearing specially designed 3D glasses, audiences will enjoy the unprecedented 3D thrills of "Astronaut 3D" under the unique and huge hemispheric dome of the Hong Kong Space Museum, and experience a sense of the tough training astronauts endure and the challenges of space missions.
Introducing the new facilities of the 3D dome show, the Curator of the Hong Kong Space Museum, Mr Chan Ki-hung, said today (June 28) that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department had spent $7 million to upgrade the digital projection system of the Stanley Ho Space Theatre of the Hong Kong Space Museum to create a 3D full-dome projection system in early 2012. The new system consists of eight ultra-high resolution projectors and 32 high-performance computers, enabling projection of stereoscopic images with a resolution of up to 16 million pixels. Under the museum's uniquely huge hemispheric dome with a diameter of 23 metres, audiences will be surrounded by 3D images and hence experience the unsurpassed illusion of being taken to another place.
Mr Chan explained that the system employs interference filtering technology, which is different from the active shutter glasses and polarisers commonly used in other cinemas or with televisions for flat-screen stereo projection. The interference filtering technology is used specifically for the Space Theatre's full-dome stereo projection and will provide audiences with an unparalleled visual effect.
The first 3D dome show will be the 23-minute-long "Astronaut 3D". It will let audiences witness the tough training of astronauts, which includes diving into water to simulate training in space, jumping on a plane to experience weightlessness, and riding in a huge centrifuge to feel immense gravity. Audiences will also be able to take in all kinds of risks and challenges that astronauts face.
Mr Chan added that the ticket price for the 3D dome show will be the same as that of the Omnimax show - $32 for stalls and $24 for front stalls. Full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above and people with disabilities are entitled to a half-price concession. Tickets are available at the Hong Kong Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets.
"Astronaut 3D" will be screened daily at 2.40pm and 6.10pm at the Hong Kong Space Museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre. There will be additional screenings at 11.10am on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays).
Following the renovation of the Space Theatre completed in 2009 and the recent upgrading of the projection system, the Hong Kong Space Museum will continue to carry out the $32 million renovation of its exhibition halls. Mr Chan noted that the renovation, which involves the Hall of Space Science and the Hall of Astronomy, has been a major development project of the museum in recent years and it has reached the stage of vetting the design proposal tenders. He added that if good progress is made, the work is expected to complete by late 2015.
Mr Chan added that the renovation will mainly involve renewing the exhibits. About 60 sets of exhibits, of which about 70 per cent are interactive, will be installed in a new immersive environment in the two exhibition halls, covering a total area of 1,600 square meters, in order to simulate the experience of travelling through space and time.
The basic design concept for the Hall of Space Science is to make use of the existing circular and unidirectional nature of the gallery to relate the evolution of our universe. Visitors will venture into a dimmed and mysterious space environment with dynamic lighting, wall murals and elaborate decorations. A proposed "Reach for Your Star" exhibit, among others, will enable visitors to choose their own visit to any galaxy and to appreciate the starry night sky from a different perspective.
The major themes of the Hall of Astronomy will be space exploration and the Sun-Earth relationship. Mr Chan said the new gallery would give visitors an understanding of what life is like in space through a futuristic and surrealistic environment. The "How You Feel in Space" exhibit, the highlight of the proposed exhibits, will enable visitors to experience the disorientation of weightlessness in space and understand the unusual physical properties of matter by entering an upside-down virtual space station.
The Hong Kong Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, call 2721 0226 or visit the webpage of the Space Museum at www.3d.hk.space.museum/ .
Ends/Thursday, June 28, 2012
Picture shows the Neutral Buoyancy Training Tank, an astronaut training facility depicted in "Astronaut 3D", the 3D dome show at the Hong Kong Space Museum. The tank is a deep training pool, which contains spacecraft models and provides an underwater environment of weightlessness fit for astronauts performing simulation tasks for upcoming missions.
Picture shows a scene from "Astronaut 3D". In the microgravity environment of space, astronauts can suffer from muscular atrophy and brittle bones. Because of this, they must do physical exercise every day to keep strong.