Growing up, I was never a big fan of adventure stories. I was sure the age of explorers was long over. Everything had been found.
I carried that attitude into adulthood. But now, after seeing Adler Planetarium's new Definiti Space Theater show, Undiscovered Worlds, I can say that a new generation of explorers actively is looking to the skies.
Outer space is the new great adventure.
I knew from helping my sons study for science that our solar system is not alone in the universe. But after seeing this short film, I better understand how scientists-the new explorers-are discovering exoplanets, measuring their distance from Earth and even tracking their rotation and orbits. They are using technology and teamwork to look for "Earthlike" planets orbiting other stars like our sun.
In print, this may just seem like a bunch of sci-fi jargon, but the film is inspiring. My 11-year-old and I were mesmerized by the high-tech, large-scale animation and orchestral soundtrack. He thought it was like a "real-life Star Wars."
I still may not understand terms like "star wobble" or how to use "light curve" methods, but I do know that we have proof of massive exoplanets oozing lava.
Adler is the kind of place where I always learn something new. Given that I've been visiting for several decades, I continue to find that surprising. This trip, I learned that the Age of Exploration is alive and well.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.