Moon, Mars, and Beyond exhibit opens at Challenger Learning Center

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Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Challenger Learning Center worked on its newest exhibit for several months before the unveiling on Thursday.

The grand opening gave visitors their first look at what the new Moon, Mars, and Beyond exhibit has to offer.

“Today is just a momentous occasion. We are taking what is 24 years of the Challenger Learning Center and we’re giving it brand new life,” said one of the Challenger Learning Center board members, Sandi Curd.

Officials with the center said they often have students come back and let them know what field trips to the center did for their future.

“They come to the center and their minds get expanded, ‘Oh I might be able to go to college,’” said former President of Hazard Community and Technical College Ed Hughes. “They might be the first in their family to go to college.”

Jody Caudill said, when he was younger, he loved the programs offered by the center and made the trek back from his Space Engineering Master’s program at Morehead State University.

“All of them have something to do with engineering or space and that kind of led me to, well, it really led me to know I want to be an engineer,” said Caudill.

Before all of the work could be completed, the center raised $2.25 million for the new exhibit, using both donations and grants.

“Just because it’s a smaller area, does not at all affect impact, in fact, it magnifies it. It’s just superb that it can be at a center like this too,” said John Siegel, the exhibit fabricator who has also fabricated one-of-a-kind robotic arms for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, and the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

If you are interested in seeing the Moon, Mars, and Beyond exhibit, you can visit the Challenger Learning Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.