Students Represent SCIPP & GLAST @ NASA's San Jose Event
SCIPP Students Show GLAST Demonstration for NASA's 50th Anniversary.
"Oh man, we got to meet a real astronaut!!"As silly as it may seem, this was one of the major occurrences for myself and other participants at NASA's 50th anniversary discussion, intuitively coined the "Future Forum." This was, in fact, exactly what happened that day at the Tech Museum in San Jose (www.TheTech.org). NASA, who has been going to major cities around the country, along with other major contributors from the area (Calspace, the University of California, SETI, etc.) led a forum discussion based on the future of the NASA organization. Major points included budget concerns (like the 6/10ths of one percent of government funds that go to NASA), NASA's retiring of the Space Shuttle, and also their future plans to send manned missions to the Moon, and then to Mars.
But that's not all! Topping off their discussion was a chance to meet one of America's heroes!
Rex Walheim, a bay area native astronaut with over 500 clocked space-flight hours, introduced himself to us and received one of the warmest welcome homes I've ever witnessed. It really was a treat listening to his stories from space: the quirky ways of sleeping, playing with their food, working on the space station, and seeing the amazing view of the Earth from a position that only a handful of men and women have been able to say they've had the chance to see. It's hard not to be inspired.
At the end of the day, the message seemed pretty clear: we must promote the study of the sciences. To the kids whose dreams still reside in the stars. The future of scientific discovery lies at the heart of our understanding of the universe we live in, and in order to keep the future of science alive, we must always have new intelligent and revolutionary thinkers to keep working towards that goal, solving the problems that haven't even been thought up yet.
Thank you to the Tech Museum, NASA, Calspace, and all the others who work hard every day to promote this field of study by reaching out to the kids; the scientists of the future. Another special thanks to SCIPP and SCIPP outreach, for giving my colleagues and I the opportunity to experience such an enjoyable event.
-Patrick Maddock, SCIPP Undergrad student.