We may not all have Elon Musk, Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos money to rocket into outer space, but for locals and visitors to Atlanta we highly recommend testing out the Illuminarium’s latest offering, ‘SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond ‘!

Illuminarium Press Photos

Source: Courtesy illuminarium / Illuminarium

Last week I was among a lucky group invited to preview ‘SPACE: A Journey To The Moon & Beyond,’ at Illuminarium, located on Atlanta’s Beltline just south of Ponce City Market. The exhibit is best described as a truly out-of-this-world immersive experience.

Thanks to Illuminarium, we can all now fly through a technicolor nebula, kick up dust on the moon, see Saturn’s rings up close, and weave through an asteroid belt. A giant leap into the unknown, SPACE will transport you to places you’ve only ever imagined. Only 12 people have ever walked on the Moon, visitors are invited to join them at Illuminarium. Guests will have the opportunity to take a giant leap into the unknown as they tour throughout the solar system, including a technicolor flight through the nebula, seeing planets and constellations at an extraordinary scale and weaving through an asteroid belt close to Saturn’s rings. Guests will travel through time with a history of the journey to space, then observe a futuristic colony, listen as astronauts prepare for blast-off and have a chance to personally kick up dust on the surface of the moon.

For the period of time I spent at the Illuminarium, I was transported on an extraordinary journey across the galaxy. As soon as I stepped into the entry I was drawn in by the stunning visuals of SPACE. Before long, the screen slowly changed to reveal the bright lights of an active rocket making it’s launch. Everything from the lights, the noise of the engines flaring and the movement of the room made it feel real.

As the experience continued, I stepped into the main exhibit room, a huge space of visual walls mimicking the epic scale of the galaxy, which helped reinforce the feeling of actually being in space. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, the Illuminarium really engages all of the senses. The images which carried me through an 8-part experience are the result of 46 4K-laser projectors which are projecting over 3 billion pixels onto the world’s largest customizable canvas. For comparison’s sake, a standard HDTV’s resolution is a little under 2.1 million!

Illuminarium Press Photos

Source: Courtesy illuminarium / Illuminarium

‘SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond’ Lunar Approach Includes Real Audio From Astronauts

‘SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond ‘ experience takes you through several different phases. The first is the Lunar Approach which has you prepare for the landing of a ship. During this portion of the experience, you can hear real space chatter between mission control and the first astronauts who ever set foot on the moon. The space has 5000 speakers behind an acoustically-transparent surface. The walls of Illuminarium have been treated with a very special material that allows the projection to reflect without compromising the audio quality. Which results in 3D immersive sound offering every visitor a unique auditory experience.

If you love the moon as I do, you’ll really love this exhibit because it takes you through multiple lunar experiences. In the Low Lunar Orbit phase, you get to watch the craters get closer and closer as the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) separates from your spacecraft and begins to descend. In the next phase, Lunar Surface, we witness as the astronauts drive in a lunar roving vehicle before flying home. Don’t forget to look at the floor as well. Every step you take leaves an impression on the lunar surface!

Illuminarium Press Photos

Source: Courtesy illuminarium / Illuminarium

The designers of the ‘SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond’ didn’t just stick with historical trips to the moon. They also flexed their imaginations, particularly with the Moon Base phase of the program which allows visitors to explore a fictional futuristic lunar base, complete with flying cars and air traffic.

One of our favorite parts of the exhibit had to be the Constellations portion, where we get a visual from the skies of the way stars line up to create the different constellations associated with our astrological signs. Another favorite was the Planetary Alignment phase where we get so many answers to our questions about the planets including, but not limited to ‘How big is Jupiter?’ and ‘What is the temperature on Mercury?’ You can put your knowledge of our solar system to the test as Voyager 2 and Cassini fly past.

During the Kuiper Belt phase, we once again had a great chance to see how Illuminarium’s in floor-haptics work – if you stomp onto a rock or icy “space junk” they break into pieces. In reality, When these objects fall out of orbit, they become meteors and comets.

Illuminarium Press Photos

Source: Courtesy illuminarium / Illuminarium

It’s difficult to put into words the beauty of the nebula, where stars are born, but thanks to the SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond’ Nebula phase, the breathtaking visuals are laid out in full panorama. The final phase of the experience is Human Achievement which pays tribute to what earthlings have accomplished, from the very first launch to the most modern advances in space travel. Honestly this is one experience I enjoyed so much I can’t wait to go back with friends AND for date night. Tickets for SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond are now available for purchase. Evening programming at Illuminarium begins nightly at 7 p.m. for adults 21+. For more information and to purchase tickets, guests may visit illuminarium.com/atlanta Visitors may join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok @illuminariumatl.

Guests who are 21 and over can also enjoy out-of this-world cocktails on the moon during SPACE: After Dark Sunday through Thursday starting at 7 p.m.

SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond opens to the public today Wednesday, June 29.