“Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas,” showing now at the Saint Louis Science Center, offers a striking look at what it takes to power the mightiest ship in history as its 5,000 residents participate in the Rim of the Pacific maritime training exercises, the biggest and most comprehensive international warfare exercise on the planet.

The carrier leads 20 nations, 50 ships and 200 aircraft through simulated warfare, which is as close to actual warfare as is peacefully possible. The top speed of the ship is highly classified, which really makes you wonder just how fast it will go.

The OMNIMAX® Theater’s five-story screen provides the perfect medium to showcase the cutting-edge technology that goes into powering and sustaining this engineering marvel. Creative graphics allow viewers to delve into various aspects of the innovative machinery and equipment that propel the ship. For example, the ship garners its energy from high-pressure steam power via two uranium nuclear reactors that function much like miniature suns. Because steam power is so sustainable, the ship has the ability to go 20 years without refueling.

The film also gives in-depth insight on other craft involved in the Rim of the Pacific, including submarines and planes. Viewers learn about the technology behind stealth planes and how they absorb radar and deflect their own heat so they can elude enemies. The focus isn’t all on modern machinery, however; to provide context on how far naval technology has come, the film takes you on a succinct journey throughout naval history. For instance, many civilizations rose and fell over naval warfare, and the film points out how many people died in various battles. Realizing that thousands — if not more — people died in these naval battles fosters a somber mood, but the end of the film brings a more positive ambiance.

Although the Rim of the Pacific exercise is focused on warfare, the true goal of our naval forces is to avoid war at all costs and work toward peace. Don’t miss your chance to see our “Guardian of the Seas” in action — the film runs through Aug. 26. For more information, visit slsc.orgM

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