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Virtual simulation brings space to life in new exhibition

An international flight exhibition opening in Auckland tomorrow will give people the chance to learn more about space and aerodynamics using the latest technologies.

It will be the first time the exhibition Above and Beyond has shown in New Zealand after making its way around the world for the last three years.

Now, for the next four months, New Zealanders will be able to experience it for themselves at the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

The exhibition is separated into five sections, looking at early flight, aerodynamics, early space exploration, visiting other planets and future technology.

People will have the chance to test the strength of lightweight carbon fibre used in planes, or experience what it would be like to go in an elevator to space through a virtual simulation.

An exhibitions developer from MOTAT, Todd Dixon, said this level of innovation is right up their alley.

"We're really starting to push into the future and the innovations around aviation and science in general," he said.

"This exhibition really gives a global perspective to what we're already talking about [from] a New Zealand perspective."

He said the hands-on approach to learning about flight is great.

"It's all very well writing big paragraphs explaining the science of aerodynamics but having a way to push a button and see it or glide like a bird, or fly an aircraft in the exhibition really hammers home to kids how these things work," he said.

Organisations like NASA and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum helped to put the exhibition together and there is another two of them travelling the globe - one is in Colorado now and another is due in Florida.

Mr Dixon said the museum has been in talks for the last 18 months to get Above and Beyond into the country.

It took seven large shipping containers to transport it.

"It is a very flash exhibition," he said.

"We tend to do things a little bit more pared back here at MOTAT so to get an internationally touring exhibition here is something very special."

The museum said it wanted to get as many people through before the exhibition finishes in March next year.

About 20 schools have already registered their interest.

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