Wednesday Roundup: Around the World

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Conservation in Action: As Smithsonian staff embark on their journey to Haiti to help restore and recover cultural sites and artifacts affected by the earthquake, objects conservator Hugh Shockey is keeping a travel diary of the group’s adventures on Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the Renwick Gallery's Facebook page. He'll also be loading photos of the group at work on this photo stream. (And at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, starting June 17, view some of the art created in the earthquake's aftermath in the exhibit The Healing Power of Art:Works of Art by Haitian Children After the Earthquake.)

In the mind of Yves Klein: With the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's new iPhone app for its latest exhibition Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, visitors can get quotes and information from the writings of the deceased artist himself. There is also video, audio and a time line of Klein’s life, which is especially helpful if you can’t make the exhibit in person. Since Yves Klein was such a groundbreaking artist, as the Washington Post wrote, it's fitting that the app is the first for a Smithsonian art museum. Visitors can purchase the app from iTunes . For the next two weeks, the app is 99 cents. After that, it will be available for $1.99

Live, from the National Mall: Watch as construction gets underway on the new memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s Construction Cam shows daily progress of the future site of the memorial, located on the Tidal Basin between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. The website also archives the efforts underway, dating back to April and includes some pretty cool night shots. Organizers hope the memorial will be completed in 2011.

No, this is not the start of a bad joke: A Chinese man, a French man, an Italian and three Russians climbed into a space simulator . . . for 520 days.  Yesterday, the group of six volunteers piled into a chamber as part of Mars 500, a project that “aims to be the highest-fidelity simulation of a Mars mission ever conducted,” The Daily Planet tells us. It's also the first simulated journey that will last as long as an actual trip to the planet. On this Russian site created with Google (which our Daily Planet friends warned has "sometimes sketchy English translation"), you can follow the astronauts in the simulator as they do just what they’d do in space: talk to Earth (there's a 20 minute delay), grow plants, explore the Martian surface through a simulator, and run experiments and tests. Though personally, I’m more interested to see how long they last without driving each other crazy. (Does anyone else think this might be the future of reality television?)

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