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NASA Exhibits Inspire Maryland Day 2012 Explorers
On Saturday, April 28, 2012, representatives from the Office of Communications and the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate participated in the University of Maryland's annual family-friendly event, Maryland Day 2012. Over 65,000 people took part in a day full of exploration, learning and fun. The theme, "Explore Our World," gave visitors an opportunity to move throughout the 1250-acre campus, to learn about the University of Maryland and its partners through tours, exhibits and demonstrations.

The Goddard booth was comprised of representatives from the Office of Communications and the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate. Attendees were able to not only learn about several upcoming missions and events, but they also took part in several interactive demonstrations. The Office of Communication's photo booth allowed attendees to see their face in space through the use of a digital camera and some nifty software. Over 600 pictures were taken in just a few short hours, and all were beyond excited to see their face superimposed into an astronaut helmet with a cool science image as the backdrop.

Attendees who participated in the Engineering demonstrations got an up-close view of the diverse range of NASA Goddard's engineering and technology development. At the optical engineering table, attendees learned how optical principles like diffraction and polarization are used in instruments to study objects in the distant universe, as well as here on Earth. At the thermal engineering table attendees learned about heat pipes and thermal blankets. The heat pipe demonstration showed how spacecraft hardware is cooled very quickly and also offered examples of how we use this technology in our everyday lives in devices such as laptops.

At the Thermal Coating and Contamination engineering tables attendees learned about two new technologies Goddard is developing to mitigate molecular and particulate contamination.

"Maryland Day was an excellent opportunity for us to share news of our exciting Goddard missions, interact with the public through intriguing demos, and invite the community to our public engagement activities. It was an honor to coordinate our presence, and I hope we will be able to participate again next year," said Amy Pruett of the Office of Communications.
Michelle Jones
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.