Places in Prato:

Museum of Planetary Sciences

A journey from the birth of the universe to the origins of the Earth

The Museum of Planetary Sciences was inaugurated in 2005 and the visit is organized as a tour from the birth of the University and the Solar System to the origin of the Earth, a "trip" that guarantees a fascinating experience. In the "quadrisphere" visitors can watch a multiple-screen exhibition which, through a complex play of mirrors, narrates with sounds and images the events from the formation of the Universe and Solar System to the origin of life on the planet.
The Museum's scientific project was developed by the Tuscan Geophysical Institute and is dedicated to educational goals and scientific dissemination and research, with the objective of communicating to visitors the most advanced scientific knowledge in disciplines such as astronomy, planetology, geology and mineralogy.
The Museum holds two main collections: one of meteorites and impactites, consisting of 625 samples, of which 125 are on display, and one of minerals, with 4500 samples, of which 130 on display.

The collection of meteorites and impactites has grown through the years with the purchase of single samples or entire lots from merchants and researchers: this was made possible by a long and meticulous work of selection by the staff of the Prato Research Foundation.
Some of the meteorites and impactites have been gathered during scientific expeditions organized by the Foundation itself in desert areas in Libya, Mauritania, Algeria and Egypt.
One sample on display stands out among the others: the metal Nantan meteorite which weighs 272kg, making it the heaviest sample in Italy.
The mineral collection (about 4100 samples, of which 130 are on display) includes outstanding pieces, including a very large topaz.

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