GlaxoSmithKline is giving $99,200 to the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for the center’s next Star Theater show – “Destination: Space.” It is the largest single gift for planetarium show production in the facility’s 57-year history.
The program also is the fifth collaboration for Glaxo and the Morehead. They previously teamed to produce two Star Theater shows – “Solar System Adventure” and “Magic Tree House: Space Mission” – and a documentary film titled DNA: The Secret of Life. Last year, the pharmaceutical company sponsored development of the planetarium and science center’s popular “Science LIVE!” chemistry demonstration show.
The gift for “Destination Space” comes through the company’s Community Partnerships program. The funding will support school field trip scholarships and development of science curricula related to the show, as well as technical production costs.
“Destination: Space” explores the future of America’s space program and the history of space exploration, with interviews of NASA astronauts past and present and video images from NASA’s most memorable missions.
The public premiere of “Destination: Space” – including a gala launch weekend celebration – is scheduled for September.
Jeff Hill, the Morehead’s interim director, emphasized the importance of the support. “We’re thrilled that GlaxoSmithKline is backing ‘Destination: Space,’ ” he said. “GSK recognizes that not only is the space exploration story an exciting adventure but also a great way to interest students in science, engineering and technology.”
Much emphasis is being placed on travel to the moon and to Mars in the next 20 years, Hill noted. “A child who watches ‘Destination: Space’ may become one of the first people to walk on Mars or to discover another scientific breakthrough.”