Exploration Place will welcome more than 400
astronomers, planetarium directors, show producers and educators from 20
countries to the 16th International Planetarium Society’s biannual
conference this week. The International Planetarium Society, IPS, is the
largest organization of leading planetarium professionals in the world with
members from almost every continent.

It has been 8 years since the last IPS conference visited the United States,
but it has never been held in Kansas. “It’s an honor and privilege to host
the IPS conference here, and show my fellow colleagues from around the globe
our world-class facility, the CyberDome Theater and the city of Wichita.
Exploration Place has met one of the early visions of its founders by
attracting a large professional conference to the city,” said Martin
Ratcliffe, IPS President and Exploration Place’s Director of Theaters and
Media Services.

IPS members will participate in a variety of workshops and lectures and will
witness the world’s largest digital domed-projection expo. The CyberDome
will prove to be the perfect medium for several companies – SGI, Sky-Skan,
Inc., Evans and Sutherland, Inc., and Spitz, Inc. – to present their newest
products in high definition video projection covering the entire dome.
Exploration Place and IPS will extend an invitation to the general public
for several key events, including viewing some of the shows being presented
at the IPS conference. Evans and Sutherland’s New Horizons will run from
July 22 to July 30, and Sky Skan’s Infinity Express will run from July 30 to
August 5. Audience members will experience the incredible color, definition,
and seamless 360-degree view projected onto the dome. “The high
international visibility that this conference brings to Wichita should make
our community proud and will, I hope, encourage Wichitans to continue
experiencing our state-of-the-art CyberDome facility though the programs we
can bring here,” Ratcliffe added.

In addition to the exclusive CyberDome shows, Exploration Place visitors can
be a part of the Solar Storms Lecture, at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 28,
presented by Dr. Ramon E. Lopez from the University of Texas’ space physics
department. Dr. Lopez will explain what space weather really means and what
it may mean for future explorations and colonization of distant worlds.
Also on July 28, there will be NASA Teachers workshops from 1-5 p.m. at the
Hyatt Regency. These unique workshops are open to all area educators and are
presented by top NASA educators from all over the United States. Teachers
will find out how to conduct astronomy-related experiments that they can
integrate into their classroom. Educators interested in the workshops must
pre-register by calling 316-266-4288.

Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments,
hands-on experiences, high-tech theaters, imaginative spaces, and outdoor
recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in
downtown Wichita.

The media is invited to attend any part the IPS conference. For more
information visit http://www.exploration.org/ips2002/. For press passes to
IPS 2002, or to schedule an interview or photo opportunity, please contact
Diana Palmer at 316-773-4445.