WATCH: A Grade 5 student in Victoria met a Cornell University astronomer featured in the latest IMAX release. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Nathan Hellner-Mestelman is an aspiring astronomer who set out to accomplish a personal project: to create a scale model of our solar system.
Armed with his homemade surveyor’s wheel, a measurement cheat sheet and a camera, the ten-year-old constructed his model along Cook Street in Victoria earlier this month.
“I wanted to make a model with the earth about five or six millimetres across,” explained Hellner-Mestelman.”Then I wanted to show how big our solar system is to show [earth] is all we’ve got to live on right now so don’t fight over it!”
After the story aired on CHEK News, IMAX Victoria invited Hellner-Mestelman to meet astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger.
“Nathan has this deep wonder and fascination with science,” said Kaltenegger. “It is inspiring.”
Kaltenegger is the director of the Carl Sagan Institute and associate professor of astronomy at Cornell University.
She stars in IMAX’s latest film – the Search for Life in Space, a movie that explores the age-old question: Are we alone in this universe?
The film, narrated by Malcolm McDowell, explores the strides scientists have made since the first Voyager spacecraft was launched 40 years ago.
Kaltenegger says this is an exciting time for astronomers, as scientists will soon have the ability to look even deeper into space.
“The James Webb Space Telescope is launching next year,” explained Kaltenegger.
“For the first time in human history, we can catch enough light to actually look in the air of a planet very far away and figure out if something is breathing there. It could be in the next two to three years that we know that we’re not alone.”
She admits scientists will need all the help they can get.
“I hope Nathan is graduating soon so he can come help us out,” said Kaltenegger.
The Grade 5student says he is up for the mission.
“I would really like to be a planet hunter when I grow up” explained Hellner-Mestelman.
“Once your heart starts to beat with the curiosity of human nature, and that’s in all of us, then I think the sky is the limit” said Kaltenegger.
To learn more about the Search for Life in Space and screening times, visit IMAX Victoria’s website.