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Shoot a rocket, land a Mars rover in new Space Center features

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has added several hands-on, science-based "Activity Adventures" as part of the experience at the Central Florida destination, but it will cost extra.

The activities, costing $25-$35, range from 90 minutes to two hours to launch a water rocket, create and then land a rover on "Mars" or race a jet car. The activities are offered at different times each day at the Visitor Complex, which recently extended its daily operating hours.

The three Activity Adventures, which are offered in addition to regular admission, are:

• Rockitz: Guests learn how to build a water rocket and then compete in a two-person team launch to achieve the maximum height during flight to win. The rocket is powered by pressurized water and reaches about 100 feet. It carries a sensor to report altitude, flight time, maximum acceleration and average acceleration. The two-hour activity is offered daily at 4:30 p.m. Participants must be age 18 or older, but children can observe. Cost is $35 per guest.

• Rover Lander Drop: Applying NASA ingenuity, guests design and create a rover to simulate a Mars landing while protecting a precious payload – a fragile egg. The rover is then dropped two stories to its predetermined landing site, with the goal of keeping the egg from cracking. Each item used in building the rover has an associated cost so that the total cost of the rover can be calculated. The 90-minute activity is offered daily at 1:30 p.m. Participants must be age 11 or older. Cost is $25 per guest. Guests may take home the rovers they create.

• Super Jet Cars: In two-person teams, guests design, build and race their own jet-propelled race car, which they may take home. Participants build a car, which is powered by air escaping from a balloon, to race on a jet car track. Several design options can be tested to see how they affect the car's performance. Guests gain an understanding of the laws of motion, jet car theory, safety, construction and operations. The 90-minute activity is offered daily at 10:30 a.m. Participants must be age 8 or older. Cost is $25 per guest. Guests may take home the cars they create.

The space center is less than an hour east of Orlando, with exhibits of the massive Space Shuttle Atlantis displayed as if it's floating in space, pieces of the International Space Station, Hubble telescope photos, a comprehensive bus tour to the Saturn V Complex, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and a range of hand-on exhibits for kids. The Visitor Complex's new extended hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (it previously closed at 5 p.m.) through Sept. 1. Admission is $50 for adults, $40 for children ages 3-11 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. SeeKennedySpaceCenter.com or call (877) 250-9914 for information.

Shoot a rocket, land a Mars rover in new Space Center features 05/13/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 2:38pm]
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