Sneak peek: "Beyond Planet Earth" at AMNH

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  • Photograph: Denis Finnin

    Goodyear Lunar Spring Tire

  • Photograph: D. Finnin/AMNH

    Astronaut's Gold Visor

  • Photograph: D. Finnin/AMNH

    From Earth to the Moon

  • Photograph: D. Finnin/AMNH

    Future space capsule

  • Photograph: Roderick MIckens/AMNH

    Vostok capsule

  • Photo:Roderick Mickens/AMNH

    Sputnik

  • Photograph: Craig Chesek/AMNH

    Russian Space Training Helmet, c. 1969 for Beyond Planet Earth Exhibit.#...

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Mars rover

  • Photograph: Roderick MIckens/AMNH

    Hubble Telescope

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Virgin Galactic Spaceplane

  • Liquid mirror telescope

    Lunar elevator

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Bigelow moon habitat

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Liquid mirror telescope

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Hayabusa craft

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Knowles meteorite

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Mars meteorite

  • Roderick MIckens

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    BioSuit

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Take Your Picture in a BioSuit

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Terraforming Interactive Table

  • Photograph: Denis Finnin/AMNH

    Underwater robot

Photograph: Denis Finnin

Goodyear Lunar Spring Tire

"There's nothing in physics that prevents us from accomplishing these scenarios," said American Museum of Natural History curator Michael Shara of the science-fiction--worthy installations in the institution's newest exhibition, "Beyond Planet Earth." The show features histories of space exploration programs around the world, but more impressively, explores what could happen in the future. The ideas that scientists are working to bring to fruition include a space elevator, a portable fabric shelter that can house people on the moon and a streamlined Mars spacesuit designed by MIT's Dava Newman. Those displays are next to others depicting past and current astrophysics technology, like a replica Mars Rovers and pieces of meteors. A diorama of the Hubble Telescope is so accurate, NASA astronaut Michael Massimino, who actually worked on fixing it, broke museum rules to climb over a guardrail and inspect its details—he was stopped by officials before he touched the display.

The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday 19. Take note, iPhone and iPad owners: You can download a free app that provides additional videos and explanations at several points throughout the show. Before you blast off to the museum, check out some of the out-of-this-world items in our slide show.

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