It's nothing but helicopter talk these days! And what exciting days are these. There are so many opportunities to engage kids of all ages with books and activities tied to the small helicopter now sitting on the surface of Mars, named Ingenuity. Perhaps it is because of the helicopters small size at just four pounds, and roughly the size of a large dog, but children are drawn to images of this unique looking vehicle. April 14, 2021 was the last announced scheduled flight attempt (as of writing), but the need for a software update to be sent to the helicopter has [...]
About Christopher MickChristopher Mick has served on the advisory board of Infiniscope, he runs his own STEM educational 501c3, Space St. Croix. He is a NASA Solar System Ambassador, member of the NASA Museum Alliance, educator with the Civil Air Patrol, and works part-time at the Hudson Area Public Library as a STEM Programmer. He will be blogging about Citizen Science opportunities, history of the space program, and the latest exploration programs.
I know the internet is awash in coverage of the Perseverance Rover's recent successful landing on Mars on 2/18/21, so why am I posting on the subject? I felt compelled to after the questions posed to me by a 3rd grader during a video Q&A after a recent presentation about Perseverance. The 3rd graders are currently in the middle of their Solar System research, and a few students that had been assigned Mars had learned quite a bit about the history of robotic missions to the red planet. A student approached the screen so I could see and hear him better [...]
I am sure you, like most of us at this time of year we take a moment to look back on the year, to think of the future and in a year like 2020 to maybe take a few looks sideways as well! One of my favorite things that happened in the year 2020 was the launch of the Perseverance Rover on a mission to Mars to begin securing samples of the red planet for a future sample return mission. Another highlight was the announcement by NASA of the eighteen astronauts (nine women and nine men) assigned to the Artemis Program [...]
(Astronaut Christina Koch working on board the ISS, image credit: NASA) NASA astronaut Christina Koch has already set numerous records in her brief career with the agency. I recently had the opportunity to interview Christina via telephone from her home in Houston, Texas. I ask how she is feeling these days after her record setting 328 day stay onboard the International Space Station (ISS)? "I feel really good. I have my dog here curled up beside me here, and I have been enjoying my work." Christina's 328 days in space is the single longest mission for a woman, ever! Christina is [...]
If you are al all like me, you have been revisiting how to best present STEAM programming in the current COVID-19 environment. While every town has different levels of protocols in place, most in-person events have been put on hold, and while I have had a lot of success with some online events, I know young people are more engaged by hands-on activities. I have two opportunities I would like to share with you. CrowdMag is a free app developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), available for iOS and Android devices. From the NOAA website, "...we explore whether [...]
Left to Right, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin in the Mobil Quarantine Facility are pictured with president Nixon onboard the USS Hornet. Image Credit: NASA Almost everyone knows the date that astronauts first walked on the Moon, July 20, 1969. Another lesser known date is when the Apollo 11 astronauts were finishing up the last day of their three-week quarantine exactly 51 years this week in August 1969. The first lunar landing mission of the Apollo program had been an amazing success. The astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) had all returned safely with a soft splashdown [...]
Image credit: The Planetary Society I often have people come up to me after presentations to ask how they can be more involved. It is a great question, and there are so many great answers. First of all there are membership organizations. These are usually annual memberships with an associated fee, and options such as a regular magazine (that you can choose a digital or print magazine mailed to you). There are so many out there, that I could use this entire post just to list all the options! For the sake of space considerations, I will mention three (all of [...]