NASA Lands in Daytona to Celebrate 50th Milestones With NASCAR
WASHINGTON - In honor of NASA's 50th anniversary and the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008, NASA will participate in two racing events in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 12-17.
Astronaut Charlie Hobaugh, who has visited the International Space Station twice, will be at the Ford Motor Company's annual "Race and Rock Fest" on Beach Street. The event also will feature NASA's Exploration Experience exhibit, which will be open from 3-11 p.m. EST on Feb. 12-13. On Feb. 13, Hobaugh will be signing autographs throughout the day and will be available for media interviews from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the exhibit.
NASA then moves to the Daytona International Speedway Feb. 15-17. The exhibit will be at the speedway from 10 a.m. until the start of the day's race Feb. 15, and from 9 a.m. until race time Feb. 16-17. Astronaut Michael Good, who will fly on the space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope later this year, will be signing autographs throughout the day. He will answer questions from reporters from 12:30-1 p.m. on Feb. 17.
The Exploration Experience and a number of supporting exhibits, including a 32-foot-by-32-foot NASA tent containing space technology displays and spaceflight memorabilia, will be open to race visitors. Highlights of the show include a real moon rock that the visitors can touch, a flown space shuttle tire, and tools used on the Hubble Space Telescope.
In addition to the racing events, the NASA and Daytona 500 partnership featured astronaut Andrew Feustel's participation in NASCAR's Preseason Thunder Fan Fest Jan. 8 at the speedway. Feustel toured the track's garages and talked with drivers and pit crews about the similarities in the professions. Also, NASA is flying three Daytona green racing flags aboard space shuttle Atlantis, which launched Feb. 7.
Technology developed for the space program has helped NASCAR drivers increase their performance and stay safe over the years. They wear cooling suits similar to what astronauts wear during a spacewalk. Also, foam that NASA developed for aircraft seats protects racecar drivers' necks in a crash.
NASA Exploration Experience exhibit simulates a visit to moon and Mars -- the earliest destinations in America's next great era of solar system exploration. Interactive control panels and activity stations; immersive 3D imagery; and audio effects will plunge visitors into a not-too-distant future on the moon and Mars. They will discover what it will be like to live and work on the surfaces of other worlds, and how it will benefit life back home on Earth.
NASA staffers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss some of the thousands of technologies used on Earth as a result of space-based research and development by the agency and its partners. Exhibit visitors can learn how tomorrow's lifestyles will change as NASA continues to refine existing technologies and develop new breakthroughs in power, computer technologies, communications, networking and robotics. Visitors also will see how other advanced technologies will increase safety and reliability of space transportation systems, while also reducing costs.
The exhibit is free and is wheelchair-accessible.
For more information on the Daytona 500, visit: http://www.daytona500.com
For more information on the Race and Rock Fest, visit: http://www.racerockfest.com
Photos of the event also will be available at: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/index.html
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