ELGIN -- A rock that's traveled from the Moon to the Earth on an Apollo rocket had problems Sunday making it to its next, local destination.
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library public relations director, and her husband were given the task of driving a 24-foot rental moving truck filled with space capsule models and other replicas from Cleveland's NASA Glenn Research Center back to Elgin. The Raleighs were warned by the rental company that the truck's gas gauge was a little wonky. But they weren't prepared for a grinding halt in the middle of Interstate 90 somewhere in Indiana when the truck's gas tank ran out.
Not only did the couple have replicas from NASA's Gemini and Mercury missions, they also were carrying a nearly-priceless moon rock.
These items, direct from the NASA research center, will join an exhibit that arrived at the library Sunday. "Space: Dare to Dream," officially will open at the Elgin-area library on June 2. Although workers from Evergreen Exhibitions, the exhibit's creators, will erecting the display over the next few weeks, the actual display won't be "turned on" until June, said Karen Make, assistant director.
Although the bulk of the four-month exhibit comes from Evergreen, the library had secured additional pieces from NASA. The library also is working with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Adler Planetarium and other area scientific organizations to provide even more offerings during the exhibit's stay.
"He said 'Lady, you don't understand. it has to stay with you at all times.'"
Since then, Raleigh said, it has been.
"I took it to lunch with me, and it was under my bed last night," Raleigh said. while on display at Gail Borden, the rock will go into a safe each night.
So, the rock, along with the Raleighs, spent two hours waiting for the rental company to come along to repair the truck -- but all it needed was a tank of gas, she laughed. "someone said never to trust those things on those trucks," she said of the wonky gas gauge.
Also in the truck, and now in Elgin, were an inflatable 35-foot space shuttle replica, a 1/3 scale model of a Mercury space capsule, a Gemini space capsule model, and ion engine model, and a Feel the Lift wing exhibit.
In that exhibit, Raleigh said, a person can put on "wings" and have air blown at them. Arms, she said, begin to lift from the forced air.
"I have two huge crates -- a full load," Raleigh said.
The crates Raleigh delivered will join three semi-trailers full of exhibit pieces delivered to the library on Sunday. In addition to the Evergreen Exhibits personnel, the St. Edward High School football team was on hand to help carry crates into the library.
Some of the crates were huge and had to be lifted off the truck and into the library by hand.
"The bigger it is, the more bodies we put on it, 12 or 15 guys," said football coach Mike Rolando.
Dave Thompson of Evergreen Exhibits has put up and torn down this exhibit five or six times since 2002, when first shown in Seattle. Since then, it also has shown in Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Raleigh, N.C. Elgin, however, has just half the 12,000 square-foot display -- the other half is in Indianapolis.
One of the highlights of the space-themed exhibit will be a 20-foot replica of a Saturn 5 rocket, used to launch the Apollo space missions to the moon.