NASA EDUCATIONAL SHOW TO FEATURE ARECIBO OBSERVATORY
As part of NASAs mission to inspire the next generation of
explorers, NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the
Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, will help students
plan an out-of-this-world vacation an imaginary trip through
the solar system and beyond.
The Case of the Galactic Vacation, scheduled to air May 14, will
be filmed in Puerto Rico, March 10-14. In the show, co-star, Bianca
Baker is an intern at the Arecibo Observatory, one of the
worlds most powerful radar-radio telescopes. With the help of
the Director, Daniel Altschuler, Bianca will learn about the
planets in our solar system and how the observatory is used to
search for signs of extraterrestrial life.
Bianca and the tree house detectives also get help from fifth
grade students at the Antonio Gonzalez Suarez Bilingual School in
Añasco, Puerto Rico, where they learn how to measure
distance in space to better understand space travel and its
To plan this imaginary journey through space, the tree house
detectives will interview a number of experts. Astronaut Franklin
Chang-Diaz will help students understand the need for advanced
propulsion systems in order to travel the long distance of space.
The Expedition Six crew, currently aboard the International Space
Station, will tell them what it is like to live and work in space.
Finally, NASA Langleys Ed Prior and Robert Braun will help
them learn about the Moon and Mars.
The Case of the Galactic Vacation, is the latest episode in the
NASA SCIence Files™ educational series. Designed to introduce
students to NASA, programs integrate mathematics, science, and
technology through the use of Problem-Based Learning (PBL),
scientific inquiry, and the scientific method. The goal is to
motivate students to become critical thinkers and active problem
solvers, and to introduce students to careers in science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Each program includes an instructional broadcast, a companion
educators guide, an interactive web site featuring a PBL
activity, and a variety of instructional resources. For more
information about the NASA SCIence Files™, visit
The Arecibo Observatory is an astronomical observatory, and the
largest single-dish radio telescope in the world. This instrument,
inaugurated in 1963, houses a 1,000-foot spherical reflector
consisting of perforated aluminum panels that focus incoming radio
waves on movable antenna structures positioned about 500 feet above
the reflector surface. The antenna can be moved in any direction,
making it possible to track a celestial object in different regions
of the sky.
The observatory is operated by Cornell University under a
cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Over
the years, NASA has provided support and has helped to upgrade the
Arecibo Observatory, which is powerful enough to receive signals
transmitted by other comparable telescopes located nearly 1,000
light-years away. For more information about the Arecibo