NASA Astronaut Barry E. "Butch" Wilmore To Visit IMAX On April 29

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - by Thom Benson

Gaze up at the sky on a clear night from anywhere in Tennessee and you’ll see a phenomenal display of twinkling stars and constellations. And, at certain times, you might even catch a glimpse of the International Space Station (ISS). It will appear as the third brightest object overhead as it streaks across the sky at a rate that’s much faster than any plane.

According to NASA Astronaut Barry E. “Butch” Wilmore, the view from the ISS looking back at his home state of Tennessee is just as spectacular.
Mr. Wilmore is one of the astronauts featured in a new IMAX film “A Beautiful Planet 3D” coming to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.

On April 29, Mr. Wilmore will be in Chattanooga for the Tennessee premiere of this new film. He’ll discuss his experiences in space and his role in capturing some of the spectacular scenes audiences will see on the giant screen. “I was blessed to fly into space when the IMAX cameras first arrived at the International Space Station,” said Mr. Wilmore. “I was the first to use these new digital cameras to view and capture the wonders of Earth from space, and oh my, what an experience!”

Presented in the new IMAX with Laser projection system, A Beautiful Planet 3D gives moviegoers a never-before-seen glimpse of Earth from space and provides an increased understanding of our planet and galaxy. This new film features stunning new footage of our magnificent blue planet captured by the astronauts aboard the ISS, which was built by 15 countries and is powered by the sun.

Mr. Wilmore, who launched May 28, 2014, and landed March 11, 2015, said filming was fun but challenging. Quickly changing light levels, combined with limited lighting options made this project difficult, especially when shooting at night. “As you go through the cycle, every 16 to 28 days you get a full moon or no moon, so it was important to experiment with different settings based on how dark it was at night,” he said. “The colors in the Bahamas with a full moon at night are just unbelievable.” 

From space, Earth blazes at night with the electric intensity of human expansion – a direct visualization of our changing world. Audiences will marvel at these images as well as scenes of living and working aboard the ISS. And, even what it’s like to work outside.

Mr. Wilmore performed four spacewalks during his time aboard the ISS. These are among the most thrilling scenes in the film. “You’re in the space suit five hours even before you open the hatch,” he said. Then, once outside, the pressure is on. “With every grip, you’re thinking. With every step, you’re thinking.”

But there are playful moments, too. At one point, the crew is seen celebrating Christmas wearing Santa hats and leaving bags of milk and freeze-dried cookies in the air-lock.

With much of their schedule block filled with science and maintenance duties, the astronauts who operated the cameras had to shoot the majority of footage and still photography during their personal time on nights and weekends. In total, the astronauts captured a quarter of a million still photographs and between 10 and 12 terabytes of footage to make A Beautiful Planet 3D.

The beauty of Earth as seen from space is a matchless experience, from the vibrant colors of land and sea to the electric power of our world’s storms and natural occurences. But the images from orbit are also startling.

Human impacts related to water useage, deforestation and the results of climate change over time become visible and understandable when seen from above.

But work is underway to tackle these challenges and other environmental concerns. While there is a cautionary tale from this view of our home, there’s also a hopeful look into the future as some of the results of conservation efforts are also evident from space. Astronauts captured footage of areas like Chesapeake Bay in North America where an ailing ecosystem was revived after a long mission to help nature. 

“It’s very special to be able to share the unique colors and views of Earth from space, in such a clear and magical way, that you can typically only experience with your own eyes aboard the International Space Station,” said Mr. Wilmore. “And to be in the state in which I was born, grew up and went to school on the day the film opens is another unique opportunity with which I’ve been blessed.” 

A Beautiful Planet 3D premiere with NASA Astronaut Barry Wilmore

Friday, April 29 at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater

Aquarium members: $8.00

Non-member adult: $11.95

Non-member child: $9.95

Register online: http://www.tnaqua.org/events-programs


This Week’s Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Scavenger hunts, specialty burgers for a bargain, beer & cheese pairings, free concerts, movies under the stars, sing-along musicals, a 90s party, a craft fair and unique festivals like Uncle Dave Macon Days and Kingsport Fun Fest are all on tap this week across Tennessee. For a complete list of events, visit  tnvacation.com/calendar . Ongoing Tennessee State ... (click for more)

Architectural Tour Of The Artsy Los Angeles Neighborhood Of Silver Lake

A few years ago, Forbes ranked the Silver Lake neighborhood the hippest in Los Angeles. The magazine might have questionable credentials in the judgment of cool, but it got this one right. The flatlands have lots of indie stores, art galleries, and nightclubs, graffiti art is everywhere, foodies jam restaurants like Moby’s vegan Little Pine, and there is a cottage industry of ... (click for more)

Rhonda Thurman "Astounded" At Low Performance By Hamilton County Schools On TNReady; Dr. Johnson Says Some Gaps "Closing" Between County And State

County School Board member Rhonda Thurman said Thursday she was "astounded" by low performance on TNReady scores that were just released.   Noting that the county schools are below state levels in many areas, she said, "I am blown away. I am just astounded. We spend millions and ten millions and this is what we get."   She said, "If people want to know why ... (click for more)

Senator Corker Calls Judge Kavanaugh "A Superb Nominee"

 Senator Bob Corker on Thursday called Judge Brett Kavanaugh "a superb nominee" for the U.S. Supreme Court.   He made the statement after meeting with President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.   Senator Corker said, “I had a great meeting today with Judge Kavanaugh and think he is a superb nominee. It is inspiring to me to see ... (click for more)

Employee Who Stole From East Ridge Should Be Prosecuted

Why has the East Ridge employee who was fired for theft not been charged with theft?    City Manager Scott Miller made the statement that the employee had problems and that the stolen items were returned.  What does that have to do with the employee stealing ?   He has had a history of abuse of city resources. Why is he not being prosecuted? ... (click for more)

Am I Alone? - And Response (5)

Am I alone seems to be quite apt as I begin to form sentences, thoughts and concerns regarding the state of this country. I feel like I am alone trying, somehow, to justify Trump and understand why he is constantly in the middle of chaos.  Now coined as the Liar-in-Chief, Chief Foreign Affairs Coordinator acting for his pal Russian Dictator, Putin.  The silence ... (click for more)