Earth Day: National Space Centre launches Home Planet gallery

The next generation of climate change superheroes discovered the importance of our home in space at the launch of a new National Space Centre gallery to coincide with Earth Day 2022 on Friday.

The Home Planet gallery is the latest addition to Leicester’s National Space Centre, and explores how humans can manage our relationship with the air, water and land of planet Earth, created with input from both the University of Leicester and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

In addition to a series of new interactive displays and hands-on activities, guests also enjoyed talks and workshops with a number of experts, including University of Leicester sustainability lead, Dr Sandra Lee.

Dr Lee donned her cape to show families how they can use their own superpowers to protect Earth. She said: “A lot of children and young people love the environment – people like Sir David Attenborough have helped us to fall back in love with our planet – but what’s important is keeping that interest and showing kids how to protect our environment.

“Learning about space helps us to understand our place in the universe, and using that to frame the conversation around protecting the planet is something that children especially can really get on board with.

“What we need to do is capture that imagination – and that’s exactly what galleries like this help to do.”

Credit: National Space Centre

The new Home Planet gallery features an interactive projection floor with ice, water, and sea creatures that respond to visitor movements, while an art installation by local artist Michelle Reader based on the ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ but made entirely from recycled materials will highlight the human impact on the environment.

Visitors will also discover the health status of the planet through hands-on displays and infographics, many based on NCEO satellite data obtained by observing the air, water and land of our planet.

Kevin Yates, Head of Exhibition Design at the National Space Centre, said: “We’ve designed the gallery to take visitors on a journey aimed at deepening our appreciation for the beauty and wonder of this living planet. On that journey we face the reality of what human activity is doing to the natural environment, and how satellite technology is vital for helping us better manage our relationship with our home in space.

“The journey concludes on an aspirational note, with visitors considering the individual and collective changes they are willing to make to live more harmoniously with our Home Planet.”

Both the new Home Planet gallery and neighbouring Space Park Leicester – led by the University of Leicester – are part-funded by Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Space Park Leicester also proudly hosts the headquarters of the NCEO.

Neil McGhee, Low Carbon Champion on the LLEP Board, added: “Sustainability is a pillar of our Economic Growth Strategy. Our aim is to become a leader in zero carbon while building sustainability principles into everything we do.

“The success of Space Park Leicester has already demonstrated the opportunity of earth observation as we develop future technologies and businesses in our region.

“The nearby National Space Centre is hugely popular with visitors and its new Home Planet gallery will further grow awareness of sustainability and the vital role of satellite technology in helping us better manage our relationship with our planet.”