HAMPTON, VA. -- NASA will take visitors into space, then bring them down to Earth in an exhibit that combines NASA technology and education during this week's NASCAR races at the Kentucky Speedway.
Technicians and others from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will be at the Sparta, Kentucky, raceway, June 26-28, with five tents of models, displays and artifacts that will highlight NASA's contributions to aerospace research and everyday life, including technology being used in racecars.
"Rockets to Racecars" not only looks at how many of the same principles that apply to flight apply to automobile racing, such as aerodynamics, drag and propulsion, but also how NASA technology has improved racecar safety and driver health.
Also on display -- something that drivers depend on -- tires. A wheel exhibit will show tires used here on Earth and some designed for outer space. A NASCAR tire, two space shuttle tires, lunar rover tire, and lunar Spring Tire will sit side-by-side giving everyone the chance to compare wheels of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to check out a quarter-scale model of NASA’s next generation spacecraft, Orion, talk to real-life NASA engineers and see and touch items that have actually flown in space, including gloves and tools. They will be able to snap their photo with "Spacey Casey" and share it on social media or sign a banner that will be taken to and displayed at Orion's first launch, the Exploration Flight Test-1, scheduled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida later this year.
NASA may be best known for its space research, but its history of aviation innovation is even richer. Just about every aircraft built includes a piece of NASA Langley and its predecessor, NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NASA Langley craftsmen will showcase one of the newest flight technologies, unmanned aerial vehicles and share more of NASA's rich aviation heritage.
Local teachers will also help out at the NASA exhibit. A number of them have taken training online using NASA educational tools and the Kentucky Speedway event is a way to let them practice what they've learned alongside a NASA educator.
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