Give Adler Planetarium a retired space shuttle

By:  Mike Riopell
The Daily Herald

Illinois’ two senators are asking NASA to send one of its retired space shuttles to Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin sent a letter to Gen. Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, Thursday.

“The Adler Planetarium is America’s first Planetarium and a world-renowned science museum located on the shorelines of Lake Michigan,” the two senators wrote. “More than five million guests are welcomed at Museum Campus each year, and Chicago Museums create an annual economic impact of $700 million.”

Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, and Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, promise NASA in the letter that Adler will build an environmentally friendly building to house the shuttle if one is sent here.

More than a dozen museums and organizations across the country are competing for NASA’s shuttles, which will be retired this year.

NASA officials have said one of the orbiters — Discovery — will likely end up at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

That leaves everyone else, including Adler Planetarium, to compete for Atlantis and Endeavor.