New Technology at the National Automobile Museum Invites You to "Be the Astronaut"

Launch into earth orbit. Drive a rover on the Moon and Mars. And engage your warp drive for films, fun and the "final frontier"

 On June 3, Heidi and Rod Roddenberry, son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, will christen a spacecraft module that will allow thousands of visitors this summer to launch (virtually) into Earth orbit. The module will be named the “U.S.S. Roddenberry.”

The christening is part of the official Grand Opening of a NASA-based exhibit called “Be the Astronaut.”

We are absolutely thrilled to be the official home for this world-class project.

Jackie Frady, President and executive director of the National Automobile Museum

WHAT:             Grand Opening of “Be the Astronaut”

WHEN:             Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:           National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection)

“Be the Astronaut” is an innovative first-person experience for all ages that teaches science and engineering content via a fusion of physical exhibitry, state-of-the-art video game technology, simulators, and actual NASA reconnaissance data.

Described as one of 12 must-see exhibits in the country by USA Today, the new exhibit came to Reno by way of Space Center Houston and is now available only at the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the National Automobile Museum, named one of America’s five greatest automobile museums.

Other cities have only been able to reserve “Be the Astronaut” for a limited engagement, but thanks to the generosity of the William N. Pennington Foundation,  this new installation will be permanently based at the Nevada Space Center, located within the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection).

“We are absolutely thrilled to be the official home for this world-class project,” said Jackie Frady, president and executive director of the National Automobile Museum.

Scientifically verified by experts at NASA for accuracy and feasibility, this new interactive experience teaches visitors about the concepts, challenges, and excitement of spaceflight through the use of touch-screen stations, artifacts, and interactive simulator pods built to look like space capsules.

Visitors have the opportunity to command a crew of virtual content experts throughout each stage of the exhibit. These digital experts help visitors learn what’s needed to fly a spaceship, pilot a lander, and drive a surface rover — and they appear onscreen as visitors climb into the simulators to perform these feats, in an exciting narrative adventure that spans the solar system.

Each space capsule contains a large flat-screen monitor which serves as the ship’s “windshield,” giving visitors a first-person view of their adventures. Touch screens and industrial-quality joysticks put visitors in command. During missions, the cockpit comes alive with visuals and sounds that help visitors imagine what it's like to be an astronaut — training and carrying out their missions.

Visitors receive a magnetic swipe ID card — their Astronaut ID/Rover Driver License— that they use to progress through each step of the exhibit’s missions.

Also on display is the Mars rover “Opportunity” mockup from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, space suit replicas, artifacts from NASA, and space memorabilia from American pop culture. Included are objects connecting NASA with Star Trek, Star Wars and even Snoopy — as well as the NASA-engineered life support module designed to fly mice to the Moon on the final Apollo mission.

Eureka Exhibits, the producer of the award-winning exhibition, has a Space Act Agreement with NASA and is working with the Nevada Space Center and the National Automobile Museum to develop additional experiences. Some of these are featured on Science Saturdays at the Museum, monthly science-based adventures for all ages. The Nevada Space Center also hosts NASA subject matter experts, scientists, and astronauts. More information is available at

About The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection)
One of USA Today's Top Transportation Museums in the U.S.

One of “America’s Five Greatest Automobile Museums,” the National Automobile Museum showcases more than 200 remarkable automobiles. It features theatre presentations and audio tours in English and Spanish through 100,000 square-feet of galleries, exhibits, the Nevada Space Center, vibrant street scenes and accompanying artifacts that bring displays to life. The museum is a dynamic and popular venue for special events as intimate as 60 and as large as 1,200 guests. For more information, visit

Hours of Operation

Mon. - Sat.:  9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  

Adults                                     $12
Seniors(62 and older)                      $10
Juniors            (6 to 18 years old)    $6
Children (5 and younger)   Free
​Members                                Free 

Source: National Automobile Museum


Categories: Automotive, Arts and Entertainment, Space Travel

Tags: astronaut, automobiles, roddenberry, space, star trek, wheels

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Don't miss "One of America's Ten Greatest Auto Museums." The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) has a "Wow!" factor you don't often find in a museum. You'll see more than 200 eye-popping cars, and authentic street scenes.