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See AND Touch Space Station Thursday Night

See the real deal at 7:17 p.m. An exhibit brings it down to earth.

 

NASA says the International Space Station will be briefly visible about 7:17 p.m. Thursday, rising in the west and setting in the southeast.

A NASA iPhone app tracks the space station and helps viewers locate it and other orbiting spacecraft. Get the app by clicking here.

To get a hands-on appreciation for the station and its mission, visit the Tech Museum in San Jose, where a six-week exhibit about this orbiting laboratory opens Friday and runs through April 15th.

One highlight occurs on Wednesday, March 7, when current space station Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit are scheduled to field questions through a live, televised downlink.

The "Destination Station" exhibit was created by NASA. It explains how five international space agencies, representing 15 countries, came together to develop this engineering marvel.

When its solar arrays are taken into account, the space station spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones. It weighs nearly a million pounds, not including visiting vehicles. The complex now has more livable area than a conventional five-bedroom house. It has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window.

The space station marked its 10th anniversary of continuous human occupation on Nov. 2, 2010. More than 200 people have visited the space station in that time.

The exhibit's hands-on activities and audio-visual displays will show how research on the station is laying the groundwork to explore space and develop technologies for use on Earth.

Admission to the Tech Museum costs $12 for adults and $9 for children, students and seniors. There is no additional charge to see the space station exhibition. Visit the museum web site for hours and other information.

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