Exploring with my Daughter the “One Strange Rock” we Live on

Disclaimer: The Fandads were invited to attend the One Strange Rock: Space Projection Helmet. All words, thoughts, and opinions are our own. 

I remember when I was younger being fascinated with space. I guess that can be attributed to the Star Wars movies, but I wanted to know what it would feel like cruising across the galaxy in a spaceship. As an adult I still love things having to do with space and watching shows that have to do with our planet and I was excited when I was told about a unique experience coming to the Adler Planetarium for the National Geographic show “One Strange Rock“.

The Fandads were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the One Strange Rock: Space Projection Helmet event. The cool thing about this event was that Chicago was the last stop on their 8-city tour. The event went from Ohio, New Jersey, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles to name a few with the last stop being at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. We posted about the event on our site, but I never told my daughter that I was going to take her to it. 
Now, while I don’t condone letting your child miss a day of school, I decided to pick her up early from school this day, because I thought this would be a fun and unique experience for her and for me too. Having two children, it’s hard to give them each their special day or time alone, but these past two weeks gave me unique opportunities to share with my children. I had a fun excursion with my son the previous week, which I’ll post later, and the opportunity to experience the Space Projection Helmet was a great surprise for my daughter. 
As I picked her up from school and her questions kept coming about where we were going and what we were going to do, I did my best not to give away any spoilers. I just told her we were going downtown to one of the museums to check something out. When we got to the Adler Planetarium my daughter was a little excited because she said that she has never been there before. When she said that it hit me that we have never been here with our children. We have made multiple trips to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, but not once did we go to the Planetarium? We need to fix that! 
As we entered the doors, my daughter’s eyes already grew wider just by seeing the “Mission Moon” exhibit directly to the right of us. I checked in at the desk and the directions I was given to go to the Space Projection Room felt like going on a quest. As we walked past the enclosed space capsules and hundreds of different types of telescopes we made it down to “The Room of Requirement” where the event was being held.  As we walked into the room we saw a group sitting in the chairs with the helmets on and my daughter looks at me and goes, “It like we are going into the Oasis!” (Ready Player One reference FOR THE WIN!) I love my little geek daughter!
We both took turns trying on the helmets and sat through the 4-minute experience. It was pretty awesome to view all the sights and sounds of the show while wearing the helmet. Wearing the helmet felt like having your own personal IMAX screen with surround sound. I could understand how someone could get claustrophobic wearing the helmet, but imagine how the astronauts feel wearing those helmets when they are out in space. Wearing this thing for 4 minutes is nothing. 
Photo courtesy of National Geographic
After the presentation was done we took some fun pictures with one of the helmets and spent the next hour exploring the planetarium before we had to pick up my son from school. Walking around the exhibits I told my daughter how I used to have classes at the planetarium years ago when I was in school. Those were some pretty cool classes and it was fun being able to walk around the exhibits after hours. 
We both really enjoyed walking around and reading about all of the planets. We had a lot of fun in the family area with a lot of the hands-on exhibits. One of the cool things we enjoyed was sitting in the space shuttle cockpit and feeling our seats shake as we blasted off into space. This place has changed a lot since I last came here.

My daughter had a lot of fun at the planetarium and did not want to leave when it was time to go. I, myself was having a great time too and wanted to explore more, but we had to pick my son from school soon. We made a quick stop at the gift shop and while she chose  something for herself, she made sure to get a book for her brother. “I think he would like this one!” she said as she grabbed a Dr. Seuss book about the planets. I really enjoyed looking at the Star Wars items that they had in the store, but I had to contain myself, and selected a shirt that I will reveal later this week. 

Walking out the door we took one more picture of ourselves and made it a plan to come back here again with the entire family. Although we only got to watch a 4-minute preview snippet of the show “One Strange Rock” I have been watching it On-Demand after the family goes to sleep at night. I think after today’s experience, my daughter may want to start watching it with me too. 
One Strange Rock, the latest from executive producers Darren Aronofsky, Jane Root and Arif Nurmohamed, tells the extraordinary story of Earth, told from the only people who have ever left it: astronauts. Inspired by the innovative storytelling in One Strange Rock, National Geographic created the Space Projection Helmet to bring this unique astronaut vantage-point even closer to those on Earth. The limited-edition gear will go on tour to schools and planetariums in select cities this Spring- including the stop in Chicago.
One Strange Rock premieres on Monday, April 16 at 9pm CT on The National Geographic Channel.
Housed in a replica space helmet, the projection technology creates an immersive viewing experience through a unique combination of laser projection, custom fish-eye optics and in-built audio. Unlike in-market VR headsets, the helmet offers an exceptionally wide field of view and is designed so the user can freely move their head inside of the dome to look around the entire field of vision, just as an astronaut would within their helmet in space.
“One Strange Rock is an unprecedented television experience; we were inspired by the innovative storytelling, mesmerizing footage and the unique accounts of astronauts to create a specialized viewing mechanism that would elevate and emulate their first-hand experience,” says Jill Cress, chief marketing and brand officer, National Geographic Partners. “The OSR Space Projection Helmet furthers National Geographic’s commitment to make science fun, entertaining, and accessible to new audiences.”
Hosted by Will Smith, One Strange Rock is a mind-bending, full-sensory journey that explores the fragility and wonder of our planet. It’s the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth, brought into perspective by the only people to have left it behind: astronauts. This 10-part series, which was filmed across 45 countries, on six continents and from outer space, reveals the twists of fate that have allowed life to emerge, survive and thrive on Earth. 
New episodes of  One Strange Rock air every Monday at 9pm CT on The National Geographic Channel.  You can also catch up on demand.

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