Planetary exploration opens at Solamachi

A visitor touches a panel at the exhibition, "Area II, astrobiology zone," in the Tokyo Solamachi commercial complex.

A new exhibition to introduce space research activities has opened at Tokyo Solamachi commercial complex, next to Tokyo Skytree in Sumida Ward, Tokyo.

"I'd like young people who visit Tokyo Skytree to develop an interest in, and accurate knowledge of, space," said Takafumi Matsui, the director of the Planetary Exploration Research Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology.

The new exhibition, "Area II, astrobiology zone," is located at the institute's Tokyo Skytree Town Campus, and follows an exhibition on robotics technology.

A 120-inch touch panel has been installed in the 845-square-meter exhibition space to provide the latest information on planets in the solar system.

By manipulating the touch panel, visitors can learn basic data on planets such as gravity, mass and composition of its atmosphere, as well as the positions of the planets on a specified date.

In addition, images of the moon such as its cratered surface and valleys taken by the Kaguya selenological and engineering explorer are on display. A precious Japanese sword made out of meteorite is also on display.

The exhibition is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free. From 2 p.m. on Sundays, visitors can see a 3-D, 15-minute movie introducing, in Japanese, the 13.8 billion-year history of the universe from the Big Bang to the evolution of mankind.

For details, visit the campus' website (http://www.it-chiba.ac.jp/skytree/).