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Exhibition that's out of this world

Pupils are invited to boldly go to the final frontier as part of a new exhibition at the Vamp;A Museum of Childhood in London.

Space Age: Exploration, Design and Popular Culture, which opens tomorrow, traces the history of the heavens from the early Babylonians, who in 1,800bc began to map the planets, to man's adventures in space, marking the first Sputnik mission exactly 50 years ago.

Displays include a Martian meteorite and a Russian cosmonaut's spacesuit. The exhibition also looks at the presentation of space in art and literature, including classic works such as H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and the television series Star Trek. It also examines the technology used to send humans into space and shows how this has since found its way into sports gear, water purifiers and car brakes.

Derek Bell, chief executive of the Association of Science Education, hopes the exhibition will capture pupils' imaginations. "Space is bigger than you can dream of," he said. "There's a sense of the unknown, an opportunity to think beyond the boundaries of Earth. Kids think there are right and wrong answers in science but it's also about being open-minded, coming up with ideas, seeing if evidence supports them."

Space Age is at the Bethnal Green museum, east London, until April 6 and will then tour the country.

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