"Star Wars" arrived in theaters to inspire a budding scientist.

"I always wanted to look cool in a spaceship," said Dimitri Klebe, the scientist who 40 years after the movie grins about his latest project.

It won't fly but is nonetheless big and, in a way, can explore the galaxy. Most important, the Mobile Earth and Space Observatory, or MESO, can inspire a new generation of astronomy enthusiasts.

"I think it's gonna be a game-changer," said Klebe, a former Colorado College professor and longtime space educator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

For years he pushed the idea at the museum: A traveling classroom, a laboratory on wheels, would take pressure off exhibits that field-tripping school kids never had time to really understand. Students could experiment in a mobile observatory over the span of days. And it could reach remote schools out of a museum's reach, students who don't have the opportunity for such a field trip.

The idea never took at the museum, said Klebe, who was laid off in January after 14 years.

"That's when I (thought), 'OK, I've gotta devote my time to getting this ready. I've gotta get this ready for the eclipse."

And there it was Tuesday in Colorado Springs, ready for the celestial event of a lifetime.

Read more at the Fort Collins Coloradoan: http://noconow.co/2x0Dk8u