Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Answer Is in the Stars: In the Search for a Way to Remedy Our Problems in Math and Science Education, We Should Look to NASA for Help

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Answer Is in the Stars: In the Search for a Way to Remedy Our Problems in Math and Science Education, We Should Look to NASA for Help

Article excerpt

SPACE HAS ENTHRALLED ME since I was old enough to stare into it. When I was a kid, my parents took my four siblings and me camping every summer. it was a week without electricity, TV, or private restrooms. We hiked all day and sat by the campfire at night, leaning back in our chairs to see the silvery constellations my dad pointed out. I was fascinated by how the stars frosted the darkness in a way this Los Angelino never got to experience elsewhere, without the help of major power outages.

I was fortunate to have a schoolteacher mother and a microbiologist father who passed along their awe of the universe to their children. And it doesn't hurt that I live in an area partially built by the space race. Giants of space-flight history, such as Chuck Yeager and the flyboys who became some of the first astronauts, tested the power of flight in the Mojave Desert, a short drive from my home. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which helped send Spirit and Opportunity to Mars, rests just a few freeway exits away, and on the rare occasion the space shuttle lands at Edwards Air Force Base, I get to experience nothing less than a sonic boom. Imagine a sound wave so massive that the force of it can set off car alarms more than 100 miles away from its origin.

It's not just space travel that thrills me. So many of today's major technological breakthroughs were born from work done by NASA. Numerous modern innovations--from solar-power electricity generators, ultrasound scanners, and firefighters' breathing apparati, to shock-absorbing athletic shoes and Velcro--are owed to the space program. NASA changed the face of birthdays everywhere when it created Mylar, which is now used for balloons. …

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