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Comet Exhibit Draws Attention in Brooklyn Bridge Park as 2014 World Science Festival Begins

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TWC News: Comet Exhibit Draws Attention in Brooklyn Bridge Park as 2014 World Science Festival Begins
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The city is celebrating science as the five-day World Science Festival began Wednesday, and the festival includes an exhibit that is drawing some attention from folks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Something has landed in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and it appears to be from outer space. But don't be alarmed. It's just a scale model of a comet that is currently about 400 million miles from Earth.

"Think about them as like mountains of ice flying through space," said David Delgado of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The scale model replica of the Central Park-sized Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet is part of the seventh World Science Festival, which runs through Sunday. It includes film screenings, readings, talks, stargazing and a street fair, and it's all about making science a little less intimidating for kids of all ages.

"Education isn't about 'this is good for you, eat your peas,'" said Tracy Day, co-founder and CEO of the World Science Festival. "It's really, if you can bring people the wonder of this content through storytelling and produced programs, it changes the way you view science."

The real-life version of the comet will be viewed up close pretty soon by a spacecraft called Rosetta, which will land on it in November after chasing it for 10 years. Kids from P.S. 107 in Park Slope got to hear from Art Chmielewski, NASA's project manager for the mission.

"We never landed on a comet. We've never been really close to a comet," Chmielewski said. "And comets hold keys to the early solar system."

Jason Klimoski of Brooklyn's STUDIOKCA Architects held the key to creating the Brooklyn version of the comet, including the cool vapors that emanate from it.

"Inside, there are these very, very small high-pressure nozzles. There's 65 of them, and we've run them on five different lines over what we're calling the brain, which is the inner workings of this nucleus," Klimoski said.

Even though it's not as big as the real thing, the gang here was still impressed.

"I thought it was incredible," said Holly Chisholm, a student at P.S. 107. "I was like, 'What is that thing?'"

"I was like, 'Is that the actual size of the comet?' And I bet three times more mist comes out of that thing," said Naomi Ulman, a student at P.S. 107.

The festival runs through June 1. For tickets and exhibit information, visit worldsciencefestival.com.

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