Posts Tagged 'space science'

Stars in our eyes: International Astronomy Day celebration

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

Stargazer Observatory

This week we’re excited to be celebrating International Astronomy Day with some great programs. Friday night, you can join us at Front Range Community College’s Stargazer Observatory from 8-10 pm to enjoy the views through their 14-inch Celestron telescope. From this grown-up kid who used to mow lawns to save up money to buy her first telescope, I cannot recommend this highly enough! There’s nothing quite like communing with the cosmos through the eyepiece of a telescope. Friday night we’ll also be presenting a StarLab planetarium show at the observatory, and there will be hands-on space activities too. Space is limited (no pun intended), so if you’d like to join us, please register by calling 970-416-2705, ext. 1.

Saturday we have a full slate of International Astronomy Day activities at the Museum. StarLab planetarium shows will be presented at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, where you can learn about the fascinating myths of the night sky’s constellations while viewing stars projected in a domed theater. Tickets are free with admission and available at the Museum’s front desk on the day of the shows. Members of the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society will also be on hand to display and talk about different types of homemade telescopes between 11 am and 2 pm. You’ll be able to look at our closest star, the sun, through a solar scope, weather permitting. Other hands-on activities will also be offered between 11 am and 2 pm throughout the Museum.

Take a trip to the Moon and back at the Museum

by Deb Price, Science Educator

The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center is opening a temporary exhibit, “To the Moon and Back,” Saturday, July 25 with a variety of special activities and programs. The event celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Live video broadcasts from Space Center Houston at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 12:30 pm will revisit the historical significance of that first touchdown on the Moon, plus provide a glimpse of upcoming missions to the Moon and to Mars. Interactive, hands-on space activities will be offered from 11 am to 2 pm in the gallery and the Museum courtyard.

Visitors will also have a chance to share memories of the first moon landing, and children are invited to share their vision for future space missions.

The temporary exhibit features artifacts on loan from NASA, including space helmets from the Apollo and space shuttle flights, moon rock replicas, in-flight space suit, astronaut food, and photographs of astronauts and other space scientists. The exhibit will be at the Museum through the end of August. The Museum is offering the exhibit and special activities through its partnership with Virtual Space Community, an outreach program through Space Center Houston.

All July 25th activities are included in the price of admission: $4 for adults, $3 for children (ages 3-12) and seniors (60+). Children 2 and under are free. The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center is at 200 Mathews St. in downtown Fort Collins. For more information, go to the website at http://www.fcmdsc.org or call 970-221-6738.

Space science blasts off at Webber Jr. High School

by Deb Price, Education Coordinator, Discovery Science Center

On April 23, students from Webber Junior High in Fort Collins participated in a mock NASA launch. It might as well have been the real thing:  7th-9th graders were chosen to participate in the program by submitting applications, resumes, and references, and then given one of many jobs including astronaut, mission control staff, flight director, or engineer, just to name a few. They took their jobs seriously; as Mission Control guided the astronauts on board a life-size model of the shuttle, the room was utterly quiet.  The shuttle pilot flew the “craft,” and if he crashed, the mission would have turned into a rescue operation.

During the mission, the astronauts performed experiments “in space” designed by other students while the ground crew monitored the flight. A video conference with Space Center Houston halfway through the morning let students experience what it’s really like for astronauts to live in space, including how they eat…and even details about how they go to the bathroom!

Space is such an engaging topic for students. They are enamored with the idea of space travel, and it motivates them to increase their science, math, engineering, and technology skills. These students were not just “playing” astronaut—for two days they WERE part of a NASA mission, even designing their own mission emblem.

Colorado has many connections with NASA, through a plethora of companies that produce, design, or build components for space missions. Discovery Science Center and the Fort Collins Museum are also part of Virtual Space Community, an educational outreach of Space Center Houston.

There are budding young scientists in our midst here in Colorado, and who knows — the first astronaut to land on Mars could be from right here in Fort Collins! As astronaut John Glenn said, “The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.”

Webber Jr. High students during their NASA mission

Webber Jr. High students during their NASA mission

Webber Jr. High's space shuttle mock-up

Webber Jr. High's space shuttle mock-up


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