Energy Blast tells the dynamic story of energy resources in North Texas through a unique combination of science and history, bringing physics, technology, and innovative thinking to life as you are asked to explore geophysical formations, calculate drilling depths and directions, and to experiment with new resources.
Through interactive exhibits, multimedia, dioramas, and learning stations, Energy Blast immerses you into the world of regional energy and alternative energy resources, and highlights the innovative pioneers who continue to make energy a leading industry in the region. The exhibit culminates with alternative energy sources, where you’re invited to ‘power’ a model city using various forms of energy including geothermal, solar, hydroelectricity, and wind. The experience’s primary message is that new strategies will be needed to meet our long-term, sustainable energy future; we will need a multitude of energy ideas and innovation to maintain our standard of living.
Housed in the Museum’s new XTO Energy Gallery, Energy Blast is geared for guests age 11 and older. “When we looked at the story of energy in North Texas, the Barnett Shale became the natural story to tell,” said Van A. Romans, president of the Museum. “It is one example of how innovative energy explorers in our region have used science and technology to mine the energy we need out of the ground. But, it’s only one way. It is estimated that in the future, in the next 25 years, we are going to need 50 percent more energy,” Romans added. “This whole exhibition is about posing a question to everybody – saying, ‘These are the challenges and how are you going to respond?’”
Guests to Energy Blast enter through a multi-sensory prehistoric undersea environment similar to Fort Worth 300 million years ago into the 4-D theater where they embark on Journey to the Center of the Barnett Shale, a 6-minute experience that tells the story of how natural gas formed within shale deposits of North Texas. This experience allows you to see, feel and hear this exciting story in a thrilling new way. The 4-D experience of the theater –known as the Devon Energy Theater – invokes the senses of sight, sound and touch to bring the history and science of shale deposits to life as you don 3-D glasses and blast off aboard “TimeCraft,” journeying back to prehistoric time. Here you discover how the Barnett Shale was formed and how geoscientists and petroleum engineers are using science and advanced technologies to extract the natural gas modern society needs.
As you exit the 4-D theater, you come face-to-face with a real 50,000-pound seismic vibroseis truck. Interactive stations placed around the truck mimic the methodology behind this vibrating truck, which sends sound waves a mile-and-a-half underground. The science is similar to an ultrasound. The sound waves bounce off of the rock strata a mile and a half underground. Geologists input that seismic data into powerful computers to create 3-D images, which allow them to see underground formations so they know exactly where gas deposits are located.
Here you’re given the opportunity to play an interactive game around the truck. When you drive your truck to a vibe location and lower the truck’s vibe pad, you will actually feel the ground underneath you vibrate. You’re also able to conduct interactive seismic sound experiments in this area.
A 30-foot model of a drilling apparatus is located in the exploration and production section of the exhibition. Large windows in this cantilevered gallery bring the outside in as you experience a well in a full-sized rig command center “doghouse.” Walk in and have a real technician demonstrate how a well is drilled while roughnecks work outside on the rig floor.
Another component of Energy Blast allows you to experiment with various energy sources – both renewable and nonrenewable – to “power” a model city. Use your critical thinking skills to determine the appropriate mix of energy sources needed to bring power to a large city.
The final element within Energy Blast is “Energy Pioneers” where you can research industry innovators via computer. For example, discover how local energy explorer George Mitchell persevered by experimenting for 18 years before discovering how to extract gas from the strata.
“It is important for young people to understand and to learn about this because we need their help and their creativity to explore and discover how to meet energy needs for the future.” Romans said. “Our goal is to inspire every person that experiences this exhibition to be a part of the energy solution.”
The story of energy was developed by a team of academic and industry advisors who are recognized experts in the field including: Bonnie F. Jacobs, Ph.D., Director, Environmental Science and Studies Programs and Roy M. Huffington, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; Ken Morgan, Ph.D., Director, Texas Christian University Energy Institute, Fort Worth; Eric C. Potter, Associate Director, Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin; and Andrée Griffin, Manager of Geology, Fort Worth Basin, XTO Energy, Inc., Fort Worth.