The MS Wissenschaft is a floating science center with exhibits to try out and participate in. As part of the "Science Year 2023 - Our Universe", she is sailing across Germany, from Berlin to Nuremberg and on to Vienna.
The journey of the MS Wissenschaft in the "Science Year 2023 - Our Universe" takes about five months. From May 9th to September 27th the exhibition ship will be on its way in Germany and Austria. You can find out when the MS Wissenschaft docks in which city in the tour schedule.
Virtual journey from Earth to the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b
Our nearest neighbouring star, Proxima Centauri, is about four light-years away. The installation, reminiscent of a spaceship, makes this journey, which in reality would take around 75,000 years, in four minutes. It leads past our planets, moons, asteroids and space telescopes to the edge of our solar system and farther, through interstellar space, to the next star system to the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b. The exhibit brings travelers closer to the vastness and variety of the Universe around the Sun and allows to experience it. Moreover, the trip includes a view of our Earth from a great distance (from Saturn), from where Earth appears only as a small pale blue dot. This creates a new perspective on our planet and conveys the vulnerability but also the uniqueness of our cosmic home.
Niche with spaceship flair
The exhibit consists of three large monitors, which act as spaceship windows. Through them, visitors experience the journey to the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b. During the journey, short information panels on the "spaceship window" to the right show info about the passing objects. The journey can be paused and continued with a buzzer so that visitors can see the interesting details and beauty of these objects.
Exoplanets, habitable zone and earth-like life
Extrasolar planets – exoplanets for short – are planets orbiting stars other than our sun. The exoplanet Proxima Centauri b is a rocky planet located in the habitable zone of its star Proxima Centauri. The habitable zone is the ring-shaped area around a star, within which water can occur in liquid form on a planet - a prerequisite for earth-like life. Proxima Centauri b is thus a terrestrial planet that might be capable of bearing life (in one form or other). We humans cannot emigrate to this exoplanet, it is too far away. Proxima Centauri b is, however, the very best candidate for a future robotic space mission.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), together with Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD), has been organizing the Science Years since 2000. The aim of the years is to get people more interested in science and to promote social dialog about research. Developments in research are to be made more transparent and accessible to citizens, while at the same time social debates about these developments are to be initiated and driven forward.
People's curiosity and desire for more knowledge have always acted as drivers to develop new technologies and mathematical and scientific methods, just as they promote the philosophical and spiritual search for knowledge. The Science Year 2023 - Our Universe focuses on this.
It is precisely the view of the unlimited expanse of the universe that leads people to reflect on themselves again and again. The Science Year 2023 - Our Universe also wants to shed light on what these insights mean for humanity's understanding of itself and its role in the universe.