Monday, April 09, 2012

Max the Dog Goes to the Moon — And a Planetarium Near You

Max the Dog is quite the adventurer. As the protagonist of the critically-acclaimed children's book series bearing his name, Max has traveled to a number of galactic locales including the Moon, Jupiter and Mars.

But there's one place he hasn't appeared until now: the big screen. Thanks to a team of undergraduate students and staff at the University of Colorado Boulder, audiences can follow Max's trip to the moon with an adapted planetarium show.

The planetarium show closely follows the story from the first book in the Max Science Adventure Series. Max and his human friend Lori travel to the moon for the first time since the Apollo era and successfully reinvigorate humanity's interest in human -- and canine -- spaceflight.

In addition to the story, the book features over a dozen sidebars that delve into more complex science topics. These "Big Kid Box" sidebars make the book more adaptable, providing educational opportunities for older readers. One section on the physics of frisbee flight on the moon may be of particular interest to our canine readers (and Ultimate frisbee fans).

Jeffrey Bennett, the author of the book series, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a PhD in astrophysics before writing the books. Fittingly, a group of students from Bennett's alma mater spearheaded the effort to adapt his book into a planetarium show that debuted in March at the university's Fiske Planetarium.

The show has extended its reach outside of Colorado too. Planetariums in states including Alabama, Indiana, Wisconsin and Virginia have decided to air the free show as well, according to a CU-Boulder press release.

For those Max fans at home, there will also be a streaming version of the shown available online this summer, according to Bennett's website.

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