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M’sia’s first planetarium to be upgraded using Warner Bros expertise

KUCHING, 17 Oct 2008: The Sultan Iskandar Planetarium here, Malaysia’s first astronomy education centre, is to be upgraded, with the possibility of using expertise from Warner Bros, one of the world’s largest producers of film and television entertainment.

Science, Technology and Innovation Deputy Minister Fadillah Yusof who disclosed this, said the ministry was prepared to assist the planetarium in this effort.

“The country’s first planetarium which has been in operation for 19 years is now in need of upgrading in terms of infrastructure, in line with current technological developments.

“The ministry will cooperate with the Sarawak government to identify aspects or areas which need to be improved in order to continuously draw people to the planetarium and avoid boredom for the visitors.

“If possible, we want to create realistic situations during the screenings at the planetarium,” he told reporters after launching its “Mirrordome” digital screening, today.

For instance, Fadillah said, visitors watching on the screen, a rocket being launched into space might “experience” what the astronauts were going through, and his could happen with Warner Bros expertise.

“Perhaps the seats need to be changed so that the visitors could ‘feel’ the vibrations when the rocket is launched into space or hit a meteor,” he added.

Fadillah said the use of Mirrordome technology was the beginning of the upgrading process, while the initiative of the Sarawak government which was responsible for the daily operations of the Sultan Iskandar Planetarium should be emulated by others.

The Mirrordome technology allows for digital film screening while previously a projector was used for showing the planets and stars to the planetarium visitors.

The technology application was contributed by Paul Bourke, a computer visualisation researcher from the University of Western Australia.        

On the state government’s request from the federal government to set up a science centre in Sarawak to promote interest in science among the younger generation, Fadillah said his ministry was prepared to study it but the decision would depend on the country’s financial situation. — Bernama


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