Solar Eclipse Activities at the Center
At Space Center Houston, people of all ages can become astronomers with three different ways to view this month’s total eclipse.
First, guests may participate in our Pop-up Science Lab experiments. This month our lab team is helping guests create their own eclipse projector so everybody can safely observe the sun on Aug. 21. The projector is made with cardboard box, paper, tape and foil all provided by the center. This activity is a hands-on learning experience for kids and adults to interact with the wonders of space exploration.
Guests also may watch the eclipse on Aug. 21 via a “Sunspotter.” Space Center Houston will have three of these located around the center. With a “Sunspotter,” guests can see the eclipse in its biggest form while the shadow passes through the object and onto a piece of paper. The “Sunspotter” works much like a sundial.
Finally, guests may purchase eclipse glasses for safe viewing. Looking directly at the sun even during an eclipse without proper eye protection can seriously injure your eyes. That is why it is recommended to either wear special glasses or create a projector to view this phenomenal phenomenon.
The Pop-Up Science Lab will be located in Astronaut Gallery right next to our Galileo exhibit. Our education team will help guests build and answer any science question.
Time is running out
We still need your help to restore Historic Mission Control. You have until 7 a.m. Aug. 19 to be a part of this important campaign.
Just last week we reached the $400,000 match goal on Kickstarter to receive generous matching funds in that amount from the City of Webster! We still have more to do to reach the campaign goal of $5 million needed to restore and sustain this historic landmark.
You still have time to make a gift and receive exclusive rewards, only for Kickstarter backers. Visit our Kickstarter page at websterchallenge.com to learn about the scope of our project and hear from famed NASA Apollo Flight Director Gene Kranz about the critical importance of restoring Historic Mission Control.
You can help restore this National Historic Landmark to its Apollo-era glory. Accept the challenge.
Communications Team Wins Nine Awards, Nonprofit Team of the Year
The Space Center Houston Communications Team won nine awards, including Nonprofit Communications Team of the Year, at the 32nd Annual Excalibur Awards held June 29. Awarded by the Public Relations Society of America Houston Chapter, the event recognizes the most outstanding accomplishments in the development and execution of comprehensive public relations programs and individual tactics.
In giving the team award, the chapter said: “This mighty seven-person crew brilliantly conveyed the organization’s mission through targeted mass communications plans to increase the awareness of the center as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and drive more visitors to the center for what ended as a record-breaking year of attendance with more than one million visitors. It showed that it was the Little Nonprofit Team That Could.”
The other eight awards won were for two campaigns and six tactics. They are: gold in news releases; silver in websites, special projects (Independence Plaza opening news media), marketing consumer products and services (digital discount campaign), and integrated communications (venue rental); and bronze in social media (Independence Plaza opening), newsletters and brochures (Map & Guide).
PRSA Houston, founded in 1950, is one of the nation’s largest and most active chapters of the professional association PRSA. It encourages professional growth and offers educational and leadership opportunities.
Enrollment now open for new 11-14-year-old Space Center U program
Space Center Houston’s ultimate educational experience Space Center U is expanding to include a new program for students ages 11-14 beginning this fall. This five-day challenge promotes teamwork, solving problems, communication skills and engineering solutions to space-related situations.
In the new program, 11- to 14-year-old participants will experience interactive and engaging activities and challenges that explore moon missions including rocket launches, lunar habitat design and sustainability, robotic rovers and more.
Space Center U students also get a behind-the-scenes look at space exploration. They will hear from expert guest speakers, including a NASA astronaut, and learn what it takes to prepare humans for space exploration. They also will tour Space Center Houston exhibits and NASA Johnson Space Center facilities, including the Neutral Buoyancy Lab where astronauts train.
Enroll your students in Space Center U today and inspire your students to pursue STEM through the wonders of space exploration.
Top Programmer Winners Announced in Global Space Robotics Challenge
NASA awarded $300,000 today to four teams of citizen inventors as part of the multi-phase Space Robotics Challenge at Space Center Houston. Representatives from the Challenge’s top 20 finalist teams, along with robotics thought leaders and innovators, participated in a celebration event that culminated with the announcement of the final four winners of the Challenge.
Resupplying International Space Station with science
The International Space Station (ISS) received a care package this month and it was full of science. SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft on June 1 to deliver crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to ISS.
In this timely resupply vessel will be plenty of experiments to keep the crew of six astronauts busy. The supplies include:
Solar panels – The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) is new technology that is lighter and more compact; an important consideration in the snug confines of ISS and any missions beyond low Earth orbit. This new technology stores cells on a flexible framework that rolls out like a tape measure.
Neutron star investigations – There’s no better place to study cosmic phenomena than ISS. A new module to be added onto the station’s structure will study neutron stars. These stars are the densest objects in the galaxy and are left behind after supernova explosions. They are called “pulsars” because they emit light in unique ways. These new instruments will seek to study both the physics of these unique stars and record information that could help scientists develop a space navigation system based on them.
More heart research – Recently, astronauts saw heart tissue beat on ISS in an experiment. Now, they’re continuing that research into how the heart operates in reduced gravity environments with an unusual subject: fruit flies. The study will use the fruit fly to better understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart. Flies are smaller, with a well-known genetic make-up, and very rapid aging that make them good models for studying heart function.
Surviving in space – Currently, the life-support systems aboard the space station require special equipment to separate liquids and gases. The Capillary Structures investigation studies a new method of water recycling and carbon dioxide removal. As opposed to the processes currently in use aboard the station, this equipment is made up of small, 3-D printed geometric shapes of varying sizes that clip into place. Using time lapse photography, on-ground research teams will observe how liquids evaporate from these capillary structures.
See the suits that changed how we (space)walk
On June 3, 1965, Ed White became the first American to walk in space as part of the Gemini IV mission. White spent 21 minutes tethered to a 25-foot cord floating in low-earth orbit. The experience was so affecting that, at the end of his mission, White said, “I’m coming back in and it’s the saddest moment of my life.”
Gemini IV was also the first mission controlled from Houston’s Mission Control center. All the previous American missions were controlled from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
You can celebrate this wonderful space anniversary by seeing an inspiring collection of spacesuits at Space Center Houston as well as a recreation of White’s spacewalk overhead in our Starship Gallery.
From the suit in which White trained for his historic spacewalk to Pete Conrad’s Apollo 12 moon suit to a replica of the space shuttle-era extra vehicular maneuvering unit worn by the first woman spacewalker, Kathy Sullivan, we are proud to host one of the largest spacesuit collections in the United States.
New Girl Scout Camp-In activities
Come experience Space Center Houston’s all-new Girl Scout Camp-In activities. Immerse yourself in a setting where your imagination can take flight as you design, build, create, program and launch into a new world of opportunity and exploration.
Demonstrate Girl Scout leadership skills as you work with your peers to solve the real-world problems NASA often encounters. How can you make an astronaut’s job easier? How do you program a robot? How do you plan an astronaut rescue mission on Mars? Get ready to launch into an incredible experience in our all-new Girl Scout Camp-Ins.