Close encounter

An attraction that offers a virtual space journey has just opened in an old ferry terminal in Liverpool.

For John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute, which runs the Liverpool Telescope – located in the Canary Islands and one of the largest robotised telescopes in the world – the Spaceport functions as a visitors centre, allowing people to access it over the Internet as well as encouraging interest in astrophysics and astronomy.

However, the Spaceport brings various other space genres into play, including an amusement arcade with retro Space Invaders games set amid a UFO crash.

There is also a ‘shop window’ display showing the sequence between science fiction and science fact, demonstrating that things once imagined have since become a reality, intended no doubt to bring a tingle to the spine of sci-fi fans. A state-of-the-art planetarium dubbed the Space Dome, using a single-projector system, provides a more traditional element to the attraction.

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