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Cosmos at the Castle Blackrock's Observatory and Interactive Visitor Centre

cosmos launch 3 city manager speaks

City Manager, Joe Gavin, speaking at the launch of the Cosmos at the Castle, Blackrock Castle Observatory, with Leo Enright, Chairman, Discovery Ireland, Tig Filí representative, Leslie Ryan, who read a poem giving a child's views on science, and Minister  for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Martin, who formally launched the new Observatory and Visitor Centre.

Micheal Martin, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, launched the final element of Blackrock's Observatory and Interactive Visitor Centre in Cork on 19th November 2007
Cosmos at the Castle is a €7.5 million joint venture between Cork City Council and Cork Institute of Technology. Housed at Blackrock Castle, it aims to be Ireland's foremost Astronomical Research Facility and hosts a team of scientists working on new technologies for searching for planets around distant stars.
"We need to cultivate an attitude that values scientific curiosity and endeavour in the same way and we must strive to promote a more positive attitude towards the sciences through our schools, third level institutions and through projects such as the Blackrock Observatory," said Minister Martin speaking at the launch.
"My department, through its integrated awareness programme, Discover Science and Engineering, is happy to support this unique project. Blackrock Castle Observatory is now a Discover Science Centre and offers a wonderful facility in Cork for children to explore the universe."
Minister Martin pointed out that Ireland has set a goal to become a leader in research, development and innovation and has committed a budget towards this, of €8.2 billion under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 and the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) 2006-2013. The Cosmos at the Castle Project falls under the strategy's remit.
The state-of-the-art exhibition highlights recent discoveries of extreme life forms on earth and their implications for life in space. It also invites interactive debate on mankind's ultimate place in the universe.
A gallery of cinema-sized, high-definition, digital video screens with proximity sensors allow visitors to interact with the universe's evolution process and of life on earth.
"Blackrock Castle Observatory is about inspiring passion in science and discovery. It will be a great educational and leisure resource for the public, and it will introduce young people to the wonders of science but also to demonstrate its relevance to people of all ages," said Peter Brabazon, Programme Director for Discover Science and Engineering.
"To develop as a society and economy, we need scientists and innovators who will provide the expertise and leadership which will contribute to job creation, sustained economic prosperity and advances in healthcare and environmental protection. The integration of research, an interactive astronomy exhibition centre and an educational outreach programme makes the Blackrock Castle project unique in Ireland."

Funding for the project was provided by Cork City Council, Cork Institute of Technology and a private benefactor. 


Claire McSweeney, Facilities Manager, City Manager, Joe Gavin, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Martin and May and Larry Egan (from Blackrock,Cork city) whose daughter Jane is married to astronaut Dan Tani, watching a downstream feed from the Space Shuttle in orbit with Dan Tani aboard and providing the narration.

Cosmos at the Castle Announced  as a" Thea Award Winner"
"Recognizing excellence in the creation of compelling educational, historical and entertainment projects, the TEA's Thea Awards once again reinforce the value of experience design and themed entertainment approaches to engaging people worldwide," said TEA international board president Craig Hanna, of Thinkwell Design & Production he announced the recipients of the 14th Annual Thea Awards.
Cosmos at the Castle, Cork City, Ireland  was declared  the winner in the Science Center, Limited Budget Category:
The winning citation
''The guest experience begins with large-format, HD presentations that are   touch-sensitive and allow guests to learn as much, or little, about various evolutionary and cosmological subjects as they desire. The key points of cosmology, astronomy, and the evolution of life are summarized in 16 animated presentations. Next are interactive role-playing exhibits that allow visitors to express views about space exploration, and the religious, philosophical, and cultural challenges posed by the existence, or lack of, alien life and intelligence. Guests can also access the on-site radio telescope and send their own multimedia impression of life on earth to the planet of their choice. Ireland's first fully interactive cinema, The Comet Chaser Space Mission, concludes a visit. Through various large-format interactive screens, guests, track, monitor and probe a deadly comet heading toward Earth. As a group, they must determine the threat the comet poses and form a plan to either divert the comet, or melt it with a thermal explosion.''

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