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A scale model of the moon is the highlight of Ely Cathedral's Science Festival





A breathtaking illuminated model of the moon hanging above the nave of Ely Cathedral has been wowing crowds this week.

The Museum of the Moon by UK artist Luke Jerram is a scale model replica using NASA imagery of the lunar surface.

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792856)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792856)

The internally lit replica is at an approximate scale of 1:500,000 at seven metres in diameter, so each centimetre represents 5km of the moon's surface

The installation is part of the Science Festival taking place in the cathedral, which includes a copy of the space suit worn by Neil Armstrong, an ancient star atlas, astronomical diagrams from the 17th century and the first ever printed map of the moon, on loan from the Institute of Astronomy.

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792890)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792890)

Ely Cathedral Canon Vicky Johnson, a former research scientist, who is overseeing the festival, said: "Ely Cathedral was itself a feat of medieval engineering and now, nearly a thousand years after it was built, serves one of the most dynamic science and technology communities in the world.

"We hope by staging this spectacular event we can highlight the long tradition of scientific thought as part of our Christian heritage and build on our reputation as a 'cathedral for science' - encouraging greater understanding between science and faith.

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792653)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792653)

"Cathedrals have long been centres for learning and education particularly in monastic foundations where medicine, engineering and astronomy were common disciplines among medieval religious communities."

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792862)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792862)

Also on display in the cathedral are fragments of meteorites and space food for astronauts. This includes a bacon sandwich made in collaboration with Heston Blumenthal for Tim Peake's trip to the International Space Station, containing the first piece of bread in space since 1965. Orbiting the Museum of the Moon are exhibits from the Cambridge Science Centre and Moon-shot: Woman on the Moon by ESERO-space Ambassador, Helen Schell. Plus there will be visits from Daleks and an inflatable star dome.

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792878)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792878)

And answering children’s favourite question for astronauts - how do you go to the toilet? - there is an example of a space toilet system.

Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792877)
Ely Cathedral Science Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10792877)

A major Schools' programme is running alongside the festival with support from The Royal Institution, The Whipple Museum, National Space Centre and the Institute of Astronomy.

The space exhibition runs from May 18 to June 9.



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