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Red Planet

"Synergy" is one of those corporate words used to express the idea that two heads (or companies, or subsidiaries) are better than one. The people at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, believe education works that way, too: The new exhibit, Engineer It!, and IMAX feature, Roving Mars, are both better when absorbed together instead of separately.

Engineer It! introduces physics and engineering to children — and adults — in a hands-on manner. In fact, the 10,000-square-foot display includes a water area where you can put together a speedboat, taking into consideration which bow and stern designs are best suited for high velocities. In the buildings-and-bridges area, you can create a structure from foam blocks — and then see how well it stands up to a simulated earthquake. There's also a wind area, complete with walk-in wind tunnel and foam wings, to explain how lift and drag are related to flight.

So how does all of this relate to Roving Mars? Well, along with the beautiful Martian vistas — enhanced by the humongous IMAX screen — you'll get to step inside the Mars Exploration Rovers mission and learn exactly how scientists managed to obtain those glorious outer-space images. After the Engineer It! exhibit, you'll be much better equipped to understand just how difficult it was to put rovers on Mars, and you'll be in the mood to sit back, relax and learn to the sounds of acclaimed composer Philip Glass.

Engineer It! is free with museum admission, and Roving Mars tickets are $4 to $8. Roving Mars runs through December 31; Engineer It! is open through January 1. For more information and museum hours, call 303-322-7009 or visit
Sat., Aug. 25, 9 a.m. & 8:45 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 26, 9 a.m.; Sun., Aug. 24, 8:45 p.m., 2007


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