In keeping with NASA's mission "to inspire the next generation of explorers . . . as only NASA can," education will be an important component of the space agency's exhibits and activities at the upcoming World Space Congress 2002.
Educational highlights of NASA's presence at the once-in-a-decade event will include keynote addresses by Astronauts Dan Bursch and Jim Voss, two recent residents of the International Space Station; a "Make Space for the World's Kids" educator workshop featuring astronaut autograph opportunities; the "Space Rocks! KidsFest" at the University of Houston, and eight interactive distance learning Web cast/chat events hosted directly from the Congress.
NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), the hub of the International Space Station and the home of the astronaut corps, is a supporting sponsor of World Space Congress 2002. Houston, long known as "America's Space City" because it is home to the nation's Human Spaceflight Program, is hosting the global event Oct. 10-19.
Following is a synopsis of the educational events planned:
The Wright Experience distance learning event is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT Oct. 15, featuring a special appearance by Orville and Wilbur Wright Immediately followed by a News Conference and Web cast called "Legoman Goes to Mars." The news conference starts at 11 a.m. in the NASA Village and will be followed by the Web cast at noon. Students will interact with experts and student competitors about the FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition. Student guests will build a robot during the program, previewing the activities planned for the Dec. 7 competition in Houston.
Kids Space Update will take a look at the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observing to Benefit the Environment) program during a 10 a.m. CDT Oct. 16 Web cast/chat at the Exhibit Hall theater. They'll learn how GLOBE schools worldwide observe and report data in land cover, relations between climate and biology, clouds, and aerosols, in some cases assisting satellite missions with ground-truth observations. GLOBE is a cooperative effort of schools, led in the U.S. by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. State Department, in partnership with colleges and universities, state and local school systems, and non-government organizations. Internationally, GLOBE is a partnership between the United States and 99 other countries.
The second Kids Space Update of the day will be a Space Day Design Challenge called "Fly to the Future." At noon Oct. 16, students will use advanced NASA designs from the blended wing body to the lifting body as the basis for designing their own airplanes of the future. The design challenge activities will take place in the NASA Village.
Another design challenge – this time focusing on creating an aircraft that could fly on Earth or on another planet – is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT Oct. 17 in the NASA Village, and is entitled Planetary Explorers. Participating students will get some help from experts putting together an airplane that could brave the thin atmosphere of Mars, or the crushing pressures of the atmospheres belonging to Jupiter and Saturn.
Flying toys will be the focus of another Distance Learning Outpost chat on the Web at noon CDT Oct. 17. Flying toys can take advantage of natural curiosity that later may lead to unique and creative solutions in the field of aeronautics, and this virtual workshop will look at some of the innovative solutions NASA has applied to aeronautical research and everyday flying experiences.
The day will conclude with "Make Space for the World's Kids" at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. An adults-only educational experience will feature exhibits, presentations on a variety of space topics, IMAX movie and new planetarium presentations, astronomy lectures, teacher hands on workshops and a Challenger Center mission will be topped off by an opportunity for astronaut autographs.
The Space Rocks! Kids Fest will be an all-day event at the University of Houston Field House on Oct. 18, dedicated to space pioneers of the future. The day starts at 8:30 a.m., and features hands-on math and science activities for K-12 students, access to NASA traveling displays, visits with astronauts and educational outreach materials for teachers. The Festival is in conjunction with the Robotics Invitational featuring FIRST, FIRST LEGO League, and BEST teams from across the county demonstrating the ingenuity of middle and high-school students. The day concludes at 6 p.m.
"Live" at the World Space Congress will use a distance learning Web cast/chat to provide a vicarious visit to the once-in-a-decade gathering of the best and brightest in the fields of aerospace and aeronautics. Participants will enjoy a tour of the World Space Congress and learn more about the visionary organizations involved, and interact with a couple of surprise guests!
The week's Kids Space Updates will conclude with a final design challenge -- this time centering on developing a renewable energy source to fly, Watt Power. NASA is on the forefront of developing alternative propulsion systems for deep space, from solar sails to plasma drives. Participants in the noon CDT Oct. 18 Web cast/chat will have the opportunity to design an aircraft that can use a renewable energy source to provide the power of flight.
The final day of World Space Congress 2002 will be Discover NASA Day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 19. Dan Bursch, veteran astronaut and member of the International Space Station Expedition 4 crew, will get things rolling at 11 a.m. CDT with a presentation entitled "Today on the ISS" about his home on orbit for six months. Bursch will share experiences about life aboard the space station and explain what's happening on orbit as World Space Congress activities are taking place on the ground.
At noon NASA will present "It's Hard to Dance in a Spacesuit," a demonstration of the spacesuits and tools being used to construct the space station. Bursch will stop in to share his personal experiences as a space construction worker.
At 1 p.m. CDT, Astronauts Leland Melvin and Suni Williams, will explain what it is like to live "An Astronaut's Life." This interactive presentation will feature audience participants conducting demonstrations with the astronauts and astronaut training imagery.
The crew of STS-109, the most recent Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, will share its experiences at 2 p.m. CDT Oct. 19. Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey and Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, John Grunsfeld, Rick Linnehan and Mike Massimino will show and narrate video and slides of their successful visit to the orbiting observatory.
Finally, 3 p.m. CDT, Doug Cooke, manager, JSC's Advanced Development Office, and Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz will peer into the future, looking at "What's Next" in space exploration.
To log on and participate in any of the Web cast/chat sessions go to the host location at the University of Houston by using http://www.uh.edu/wsc2002.
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