Mars: The Next Giant Leap at the Carnegie Science Center

Experiential technology takes visitors to new worlds, creating excitement and inspiration about the future for humanity.

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The Carnegie Science Center, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a museum dedicated to nurturing the next generation of innovators and leaders by promoting literacy in science, technology, engineering and math. 

In its newest exhibition, ‘Mars: The Next Giant Leap’, the museum takes visitors on a 300-million-mile space journey to discover how sustaining life on another planet can also improve life on Earth. Experiential technology plays a key role in the ‘journey’ by encouraging visitors to actively participate in the visions, challenges and solutions for making a Martian society a reality. 

Electrosonic worked in partnership with designers Luci Creative, content developers RLMG and fabricators Ravenswood Studio to bring the creative concept to life. As audiovisual consultants, Electrosonic took responsibility for complex system design, integration, detailed engineering and specialty projection.

*Photography provided by Luci Creative


As visitors enter the 7,500-square-foot space, they are immediately attracted to 'View from Mars', a 10-foot-high projected mural featuring dramatic telescope images of the Martian landscape. Projected content transforms the landscape from early images of Mars to contemporary views, bringing the Red planet to life with color, imagery and animation.

Technology recreates historic climate change is the theme at ‘Climatology’. Two custom circular touch screen control stations allow visitors to visualize the impact of different scenarios on the climate of either Earth or Mars. As visitors select a scenario, the content changes on a 25-foot-long edge-blended projection wall. A central touch screen station enables visitors to compare the evolution of the climate over time for both planets. Visitors select different periods in time by scrolling through a vertical chart. Complex projection blending creates a large dynamic full-screen comparison of the evolution of the climate of both planets at each point in time.

Fun and interactivity continue in the 'Martian Garden' space. Visitors use a 55-inch touchscreen to take the role of chefs to re-envision a popular Earth dish with local Martian ingredients. As they choose ingredients, the resulting meals are displayed on screen.

There are more thought-provoking experiences in ‘Martian Living’, where visitors interact with a 55-inch touchscreen to explore and design a Martian living space. Their designs are displayed as illustrations on a screen. Visitors can also pull out a series of physical drawers, which triggers sound effects and stories from a ‘resident’ of Mars.

The climax of the exhibition is 'Dream Big: Space' - a large-scale, awe-inspiring interactive physical model that recreates what a colony on Mars could look like and how it could evolve. Using one of four touchscreens, guests can explore the model and vote on issues that could influence the colony’s development. Projection on the model from three projectors highlights different areas of the colony that are affected by visitors’ votes. Four integrated LED screens display details of the colony and change content in response to visitors’ votes. 


The seven custom interactive media experiences in the Mars Museum required high levels of complex, specialist integration to deliver the clients’ creative vision. The solution also required close collaboration between exhibition designers, content producers, fabricators and systems integrators to achieve the effects. Mars: The Next Giant Leap is an exhibition that will evolve to reflect the growing body of knowledge about the planet. The technology solution had to be flexible to adapt to new content requirements.


With almost 60 years’ expertise in large-scale interactive museum experiences and strong collaborative relationships with an ecosystem of partners, Electrosonic was able to bring a seamless, highly integrated technology solution to the project that matched the design intent.

A custom content management system allows the museum to easily update the visitor experience as the colony progresses, reflecting the ever-evolving future of humans and Mars.


The goal of ‘Mars: The Next Giant Leap’ is to appeal to broad audiences and spark dialog well beyond their visit, encouraging them to think about space exploration, important social issues and perhaps a career in space. 

The interactive elements involve visitors in asking questions and making informed decisions about space while dramatic projection and fun-packed exhibits spark excitement and inspiration about the future. 

Project Details

Carnegie Science Center
Luci Creative (Design), Ravenswood Studio (Fabrication), RLMG (Media Production)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7500 square feet
Technology Design Consulting
Build & System Integration
Audio, Video and Control Systems
Detailed Engineering
Content Distribution
Procurement & Fabrication
Commissioning & Programming
Quality Control & Testing
‘Mars: The Next Giant Leap’ is an exciting inspirational exhibition that uses technology to recreate environments and experiences that are literally out of this world.
Abigail Begos
Project Manager, Electrosonic
Martian Living In ‘Martian Living’, visitors interact with a touchscreen to design their personal living space on Mars. If they open a series of drawers, they can listen to the experiences of a ‘Martian resident’.
Dream Big Space A physical model visualizes a future Mars colony. Using touchscreens, visitors vote on issues that shape future developments and see the results displayed on LED screens embedded in the model.
View from Mars Projected animated images transform historical telescope images of a stark Martian landscape to a colorful contemporary view of the Red planet.


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