Today’s world has created many challenges in terms of personal safety and interacting with others. Fortunately, NASA has plenty of experience in protecting not only humans, but also other worlds from potentially harmful cross contamination.
Our new Clean Room Explorer Camps teach children ages 6-11 about NASA clean room procedures and history while introducing them to science, technology, engineering and mathematics through immersive activities and challenges.
In the early days of space exploration, there were a lot of unknowns. No one knew if there were “space microbes” that could infect early astronauts who went to the Moon. Because of this, NASA astronauts were placed in quarantine before and after each mission. Today, astronauts go into quarantine for up to two weeks before each mission to ensure that they do not become ill or exposed to illnesses prior to launch or while in orbit.
During the Apollo missions, astronauts brought back 842 pounds of lunar samples. In order to protect the samples from contamination, scientists placed the samples in specially designed containers that completely sealed them in a pure nitrogen environment.
Satellites such as the James Webb Telescope are built completely in a clean roomtype environment. Engineers and technicians wear full body protective suits, caps, shoe coverings, gloves, and face masks. These precautions are more to protect the spacecraft than they are to protect the humans working on it. Even the smallest piece of dust or hair could ruin sensitive instruments on a multi-million-dollar spacecraft.
Much like NASA, Space Center Houston is committed to protecting guests and staff. Space Center Houston on-site education events will follow clean room procedures similar to real NASA clean rooms. Upon check in to education events, attendees will answer a questionnaire, walk over a tacky mat to remove excess soil from shoes, and then suit up in lab attire including face masks, lab coats, gloves, and disposable shoe coverings provided by Space Center Houston. . All items are sterilized or disposed of at the end of the day.
We are excited to welcome education program participants back on site for immersive STEM learning experiences tied to space exploration. Just like NASA, safety is our top priority. We hope this helps you prepare for your experience with us this summer!