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Release: Immediate

UI, Iowa City Science Center Open 'Iowa Space Pioneers' exhibit

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa and the Iowa City Area Science Center, Inc., (ICASC) have opened "Iowa Space Pioneers", an interactive exhibit celebrating space physics research and exploration at the University of Iowa.

This premiere exhibit features spacecraft and instruments designed and built at the University of Iowa, including Explorer I. Launched in 1958, it marked the beginning of U.S. space exploration. Dr. James Van Allen, Regent Distinguished Professor of Physics, designed the instrumentation for Explorer I which collected data leading to the discovery of the Earth's radiation belts.

"This exhibit commemorates over 40 years of successful space research by the University of Iowa. Members of the faculty of the department of physics and astronomy have been principal scientific investigators on 54 space missions, including eight that are active at the present time. Of these, Pioneer 10 and Voyager I are the two most remote man-made objects in the universe. The Galileo spacecraft is in orbit around Jupiter, and Cassini is en route to Saturn. We expect to continue this work well into the future as new scientific discoveries and results unfold," Dr. Van Allen stated.

Spacecraft on display include "Hawkeye," launched in 1974, which studied the Earth's radiation belt and the aurora. The "Plasma Diagnostics Package" satellite was flown on space shuttles in1982 and 1985 and was used to study the environment directly surrounding the space shuttle. Cassini was launched October 17, 1997 to orbit Saturn beginning in the year 2004. It will collect data about Saturn and its moon and rings. Historic photos and interactive kiosks are also featured at the exhibit.

"The Iowa City Area Science Center is honored to bring this exhibit to the public," said Jim Larew, president of ICASC. "We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Iowa."

"Iowa Space Pioneers" is located in the Old Capitol Mall, Iowa City, and will run through January 1999. It is free and open to the public during mall hours. For details, call (319) 887-3004.