Editor's note: For a look inside the new planetarium, watch the video below.
By Denise Baker and Ron Mott, NBC News
I was the kid who missed all the class trips to the Adler Planetarium in my hometown of Chicago, so I learned alot of things while producing this story. I learned that planetarium domes don't open up and present a magnified view of the sky. (Yes, I now know, that's an observatory.) I also learned that it's extremely relaxing to recline in the dark and watch images of galaxies digitally projected with music tracks in stereo surround sound. But the most important lesson I will take away from this story is that dreams don't have to bow to limitations.
Despite her visual challenges, Kris McCall chased her dreams and now shares them with thousands of others. She credits her mother who fought to keep her in mainstream classrooms, and her 14-year-old daughter Kira Celeste, who keeps her grounded. I came up with the title "Star Lady" for this segment before we traveled to Nashville to tape the story. After meeting Kris McCall, I can say she is that and so much more.
- Denise Baker, NBC News Producer
It was a thrill to be assigned this story, not because I'm a big science fiction follower or Trekkie -- both of which I am not -- but because there's so much visual candy to enjoy at the Sudekum Planetarium.
Most kids (and a lot of adults) are fascinated by astronomy. There's just something awesome about shrinking our universe down to a size we can comprehend. I find it very humbling to realize just what a small piece of this great mystery called life we occupy here on earth.
The new planetarium they've built in Nashville is really cool. Gazing up at the constellations does take you back to your childhood in a flash. I never quite connect the dots like many people to form the Big Dipper or Little dipper, but that's OK. It's still captivating. They've installed a high-tech projector -- the first of its kind in the United States, we're told. It's something to behold. They've also got a stunning original show called "Stars" that will knock your socks off. That alone was worth the trip. Believe me.
The subject of our story, though, is an attraction unto herself. Such an inspiring woman, Kris McCall, the planetarium's director. If you visit, you're likely to run into her. She's legally blind and is so passionate about outer space and the like that you can't help but to find your imagination running off with her. And who doesn't enjoy that ride from time to time?
- Ron Mott, NBC News Correspondent