Virtual Astronomy & Space Academy
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An overview of astronomy and the universe including types and relative sizes of celestial objects like the earth and sun with other stars, the largest ever discovered. We'll begin with the very small in the form of subatomic particles travelling in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light in an instrument known as a particle accelerator. A view the astronauts had of the earth while going to the Moon, faces and figures seen on the full Moon, and a close-up view of the lunar landscape will help give perspective. Star clusters, clouds of gas and dust (nebulae), and distant galaxies, even the first black hole ever pictured will be discussed. We'll compare different types of star clusters and use creative ways to examine their makeup. Space travel to explore the Moon and Mars, and what future missions hold for new astronauts in the next few years will be realized. In just the next 2-3 years, people will again land on the Moon using the most powerful rocket ever designed, the space launch system (SLS). For the first time in history, nearly 55 years after the first man walked on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, a woman will walk on its surface. Recent evidence has revealed an abundance of water ice trapped in the regolith of the Moon that could be accessed and used. The ambitious Artemis program has been underway designing and building Orion, a reusable space capsule, and a space station called Gateway that will balance between the earth's and Moon's gravity, making it a perfect launchpad for deeper space missions to Mars and beyond. I have applied to be an astronaut with the Artemis program. NASA's "name the rover essay contest" has enabled young students to have their name along with the name they chose for the rover to be included in science and history books forever. We'll look at a launch of one of them and see how they were gently lowered upon their wheelbase onto the Martian surface. You will be introduced to the 7th grade student from Virginia who named the most recent mission that landed on Mars earlier this year. I was invited to be a judge in that contest. Two fun hands-on activities will serve to bring the point home. Only an interest in learning more about the universe is required. A real astronomer shall guide you through an interactive PowerPoint program with awesome images and incredible video clips and allow time for additional questions at the end.
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