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There is more than just space ice cream to keep visitors returning this summer to the National Air and Space Museum.
On Friday, a trio of exhibits will open inside the museum’s Flight and the Arts Gallery, each with a unique look at aviation, science and even fashion.
“High Art: A Decade of Collecting” will showcase 50 pieces of airplane and spacecraft art. The display, acquired during the past 10 years, will feature conceptual and historic works, as well as pilot and astronaut portraits, including the iconic Annie Leibovitz photo of Eileen Collins as space shuttle commander.
A fashion-featured “Suited for Space” will explore the evolution of spacesuit development from the first quarter of the 20th century until the dawn of the shuttle era. Some of the original space suits are so fragile, they cannot be on regular view to the public, so the exhibit’s photographs and X-ray images of what the Smithsonian calls a “one-person space ships” will give visitors a unique up-close view.
A sculpture that is, literally out of this world, will complete the new exhibit. “Searching for Goldilocks” is a mold by Angela Palmer made up of 18 sheets of engraved glass representing the first 46 worlds identified by NASA’s Kepler Observatory. The orbs, known as Goldilocks planets, are those that are similar to Earth in that they can support life—not too hot, not too cold, just right. Each sheet of glass represents a slice of space 250 light-years thick and the engraved circles represent the stars within that region of space.
The three exhibitions will be open to the public at the museum July 26-Dec. 1.