The James E. Richmond Science Center and the Space Foundation hosted Space in the Community Aug. 10, a free event open to families looking to learn more about space and science.
“Our goal is to get kids and families excited about space,” Elias Molen, space education specialist with the Space Foundation, said. “We want space to be incorporated in all subject areas in schools … art, math, language arts. Kids will pay attention and get excited about space. They’re awed by the abnormal, they are awed by the endless possibilities.”
The free event was the first of its kind at the center, but representatives of the Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation travel around the country to host programs, Molen said.
At Wednesday’s event, storyteller Geraldine Buckley told Stories Under the Stars in the planetarium, there were hands-on activities, demonstrations and astronaut Anna Fisher, a mission specialist with NASA who was the first mother in space, spoke about her journey aboard Discovery in 1984 to deploy satellites and recover ones that didn’t operate properly.
Fisher, a physician who specialized in emergency medicine, said she had thoughts of being an astronaut when she was a girl, but never took them seriously. In June 1977, she put in an application for the space program on the day before the deadline. Less than two months later, she was called in for an interview and in January 1978, she was named an astronaut candidate. Fisher, Shannon Lucid, Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Kathryn Sullivan and Rhea Seddon were NASA’s first women astronaut candidates. Currently, Fisher works for NASA in Houston.
Fisher urged those in attendance to study something they are interested in. “Find something you enjoy, and getting to be an astronaut is just icing on the cake,” she said.
Jayvein Yates, a fourth grader at Eva Turner Elementary School, attended with his younger brother, Jayvon, a first grader, and mom Sherell. “I like engineering and learning how to make stuff work,” Yates said. “I like weather a lot.”
Lexie Vallandingham, a sixth grader at Margaret Brent Middle School in St. Mary’s County, is fascinated by space and science, but she is hesitant to pinpoint what she likes best about the subjects. “I don’t know,” Vallandingham said. “You just don’t know because it goes on forever.”
For more information on the programs at the Science Center, go to www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter.