SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — A Mulvane man is teaching others about space through Ad Astra mobile planetarium.
Ron Mallory grew up loving both music and astronomy. For his career, he’s taken the path of music but continued his love for science education on the side.
Mallory began volunteering with a planetarium in Seattle when he lived there a few years ago.
When Mallory moved to Kansas, he began volunteering with Kansas Astronomical Observers planetarium shows and Exploration Place’s dome.
“Just sort of fascinated by the idea that you could take a planetarium on the road,” said Ad Astra Planetarium Director Ron Mallory.
He decided to purchase his mobile planetarium this year to provide people with a new outlet for science education in Wichita and across Kansas.
“By looking to the stars, it opens up this child-like sense of wonder and amazement that we kind of lose sometimes,” said Mallory.
The six-meter inflatable planetarium fits inside a large duffle bag, and Mallory built his projector box for the inside of the dome.
It takes Mallory about 45 minutes to set up.
Once ready for the show, Mallory presents to people of all ages at churches, schools, libraries, community centers, and more.
“It is such a joy for me to get to share that with other people, too,” said Mallory.
The virtual reality dome gives Mallory a chance to share his love for astronomy and encourage others to take advantage of the night sky easily seen from the Sunflower State.
“Maybe along the way, ask some of those big questions of life, where did it come from? Is there a greater purpose to it all? Those are questions that are uncomfortable for us and that we can avoid, but I think they are important questions,” said Mallory.
Mallory said with commercial space flights becoming more of an option and the space industry changing, he hopes his mobile planetarium can get people excited about the future of space.
To learn more about Ad Astra Planetarium, click here.