A world of un-Earthly delights

Welcome to Neighbourhood Earth at Darling Harbour. Image: David Rouse

Neighbourhood Earth is a multi-sensory, immersive, interactive exhibition that is as educational as it is entertaining. Arts editor, Rita Bratovich went and explored this unique experience now on at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. 

As soon as you take that ‘one small step’ into Hall 7 you’re transported across space and time. It’s dark. Large panels with lava-like images surround you and a giant globe of planet Earth floats above you. And that’s just at the entrance. 

Inside is a collection of paraphernalia, models, interactive displays, a cinema-in-the-round, a walk-through replica space craft and more. Developed by NEC Partners together with the US Space and Rocket Centre and NASA’S George C. Marshall Space Flight Centre, Neighbourhood Earth combines state-of-the-art technology, the latest in immersive exhibition design, and rare access to authentic cosmic artefacts and resources to create a truly unique event. 

A real space suit with full description. Image: David Rouse.

One of the first exhibits you’ll see once you get inside is an astronaut’s suit in a glass cabinet. Next to it (as with all the exhibits) is a simple yet detailed description of all the elements of the suit, its history and other interesting facts. 

There are scaled down models of rockets, rovers, satellites, and probes along with data points and a brief description of their missions along with full-colour images. There’s a walk-through section of a spacecraft where you can get an idea what it’s like to be an astronaut – or just take some great selfies. 

How much would the same package weigh on each planet? Image: David Rouse.

The cinema screens a half-hour movie on rotation and it’s worth seeing from start to finish, so plan your visit around it. The documentary runs through the various space missions as they relate to each of the planets in our Solar System. It includes images of various planets received from probes, and the images are truly spectacular. 

There are lots of fun activities as well, for the very young, young, and youngish. This is one for the space enthusiast but also for the curious and starry-eyed. In fact, great for the whole family. 

Neighbourhood Earth is on at the ICC, 14 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour until January 25, 2022. For tickets and further information visit: www.neighbourhoodearth.com.au

Rita Bratovich is the arts and entertainment editor of the Sydney Sentinel.