Astronaut education courtesy of the Discovery crew

Posted by Karri Ferron
on Friday, February 20, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery crew, STS-119Have you ever had a question about shuttle missions that you wish some TV program or news reporter would ask an astronaut, but they never did? Well, NASA and Channel One News are offering an opportunity for students to ask those burning questions to the next space shuttle crew.

Because two of the crew members, Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold, are former middle and high school science teachers, NASA is using this shuttle mission as an opportunity to directly connect with students and educators. On the mission’s fourth day, a Channel One News anchor will interview Acaba and Arnold, along with Discovery shuttle Commander Lee Archambault and International Space Station Commander Mike Fincke using the questions submitted on ChannelOne.com.

NASA Television and the agency’s web site will broadcast the interview live.

Discovery’s upcoming mission to the International Space Station is currently targeted to launch no earlier than February 27. The 14-day STS-119 shuttle mission will install a final set of solar arrays on the International Space Station and includes four spacewalks.

In addition to this opportunity for students to be a part of the interview, Acaba and Arnold are encouraging students and teachers to take advantage of the teaching materials on NASA’s web site as a complement to their mission. "NASA Education Spacesuits and Spacewalks" focuses on spacesuits and spacewalks, as Acaba will conduct two spacewalks and Arnold three during the mission. The site includes materials for students K-12, messages from Acaba and Arnold, and profiles of spacesuit designers and technicians.

The coolest part of the site is the “clickable spacesuit,” which allows you to explore all the aspects of the gear.

Did you know that because astronauts cannot directly see certain modules on their spacesuits, the information is displayed backward? Astronauts wear mirrors on their wrists and then read the reflected information in the mirror forward. Very creative. I’d recommend the site to anyone, not just students.

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