Families will have an opportunity to explore the future of energy first-hand when The New Detroit Science Center hosts a day-long event of hands-on activities, alternative-power demos, rides and special energy challenge team appearances on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2006. The event is organized in association with General Motors, Lockheed Martin and NASA — partners of the exhibit SPACE: A Journey to Our Future — and NextEnergy, and will feature approximately 15 participating organizations.

Kevin Prihod, president and CEO of The New Detroit Science Center, described the event as a way for families to get a hands-on look at the technologies that will power our future. "Our future energy needs will be met by a combination of more efficient uses of remaining fossil fuels and a variety of new sustainable fuels. Our goal for Earth Day is to make future energy technology more accessible for the public to explore."

Scheduled activities include solar-powered mini-car races, live fuel cell demonstrations and a display of GM’s Hy-Wire prototype fuel cell vehicle, as well as talks, games, contests and giveaways. Appearances by the Challenge X team, UM Solar Car Team and Kettering University’s fuel cell powered golf cart are planned at various times throughout the day.

Also on hand will be a bus specially equipped with GM’s Hybrid Propulsion System. Visitors will be able to take short rides on this bus on a route around the Science Center as a demonstration of how alternative energies work in the real world, while a video by science personality Bill Nye explains the technologies at work. Volunteers will be on hand to explain the positive impact of hybrids, alternative power sources, advanced technologies, and the coming hydrogen economy.

GM and Lockheed Martin are sponsors of SPACE: A Journey to Our Future — developed in educational collaboration with NASA — which is currently at the Science Center. For each paid admission to the exhibit on Earth Day, $1 will be donated to the Detroit Free Press Michigan Kids fund to put newspapers into classrooms. A special guide to the exhibit for the day will point out energy advances from the space program, including an actual shuttle fuel cell on display. The event is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., April 22; the Science Center and SPACE exhibit are open until 6 p.m.

"Having opportunities like this one at the Science Center to educate both students and parents about hydrogen and hybrid technologies is an important part of the effort to gain acceptance in the marketplace and bring future technologies that will conserve natural resources to the public," said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president, Environment and Energy. "We welcome the people of Detroit to this wonderful event with its great insights into the future of energy and transportation."

Organizations planning to participate in or providing support for the event include: NextEnergy, GM, Lockheed Martin, Space Day, NASA, Kettering University (Fuel Cell Lab), EarthForce GREEN, Girl Scouts of America, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Challenge X, National Wildlife Federation and the Youth Services Association.

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