NASA-Funded Earth-to-Moon Exhibit Provides Learning Opportunities for Students


A NASA-funded “Earth-to-Moon” mobile exhibit built by SFU faculty, staff and students will be showcased in several public libraries across the region this year.

The exhibit provides area students and library patrons with an interactive opportunity to learn more about scientific topics.

The exhibit includes artificial lunar meteorites and lunar regolith simulants (dust and broken rocks), an Earth and Milky Way Galaxy background, charcoal moon sketches, lunar anaglyphs (images taken from different angles), cardboard cutouts, a 3D-printed lunar globe, 3D-lunar dwellings, an Apollo 17 landing site and a touch-screen digital moon.

SFU is one of 21 institutions from across the country that was selected as a NASA Informal Education Community Anchor earlier this year. The University received a $25,000 award to fund the creation of the exhibit.

According to Assistant Professor of Physics and Science Outreach Center Director Lanika Ruzhitskaya, one of the primary goals of the project was to create a museum that could be portable.

“The closest mobile museum is a geology one at State College,” said Ruzhitskaya. “It’s not really a science museum, just specifically for one field.”

“I wrote a proposal for a display that can travel from library to library. It is telling us about the moon, but it’s not just about the moon. It is about the earth and moon connection.”

Area libraries currently scheduled to host the traveling exhibit include the Claysburg Public Library, the Hollidaysburg Public Library, the Patton Public Library and the Portage Public Library.

Students from the Saint Michael School in Loretto experienced a “soft opening” of the exhibit on Jan. 11.

“Students are very interested,” said Assistant Professor of Engineering Tim Miller. “For some, this is the first time they are being exposed to 3D-printing and photovoltaic energy.”

Faculty members involved with the project include Ruzhitskaya, Miller, Associate Professor of Engineering Qin He, Associate Professor of Engineering Guochang Wang and Director of the Institute for Energy Michael Sell.

Students Cara Bintrim, Jacob Garrity, Mark Koskinen, Jonah Royer, Kevin Salmon and Ana Belle Stover are also actively involved with the exhibit.

“NASA is very interested in (college) students being role models for younger children,” said Ruzhitskaya.

The exhibit is currently on display at the Claysburg Area Public Library through the end of February.

Any student interested in helping with the project can contact Ruzhitskaya at