Science, making NASA real, part 2
In our homes, NASA has had impacts on our daily lives. When was the last time you picked up a cordless drill? Did you know that you can thank NASA and Black and Decker for the development of the rechargeable battery that powers it? They didn’t do it to help us in our daily lives, but regardless of why they did it we certainly benefit from it. The smoke detector, and home insulation are also items we benefit from that were developed by NASA.
There are several technologies developed by NASA that indirectly help you and your children when you visit the grocery story. According to the NASA site, technologies have been developed that help crop dusters hit the crops at which they are aiming, they developed a robotic mother pig that takes all the variables out of raising piglets, and a satellite that can tell when it is time to harvest potatoes. Also along the food front is the location and measurement of commercial schools of fish. Together, these things make our food supplies more reliable and harvested at the best time for maximum yield.
There are many other goods and services that were developed by NASA for the space program that have been translated into our daily lives. This “technology transfer” needs to be brought to the attention of our children, particularly at this point in their education. When kids are doing their 5th grade science, it is important to get them excited about science in all of its forms. There are many people in scientific fields today because of the influences they were exposed to with the Apollo program.
Another way to expose them to NASA and the importance of continuing the research and development that is done there is to take field trips to NASA facilities. Of course, it is not quite as easy to get into these facilities as it used to be, but any trouble you have to go through is worth it. Space Center Houston is the official visitor center for the Johnson Space Center in Texas. This is where mission control is, and is the home of the manned space flight program. There is the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where shuttle missions take off from, and often return to. Stennis Space Center, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hosts a great little museum, but their main purpose in life is to test shuttle rockets. There is a large nature preserve surrounding it also. Then there is the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is in Huntsville, Alabama. Again, there is a great museum, several rides, and gift shops. These are the space centers in the southeastern U.S. but there are a number in the northeast part of the country and also in the desert southwest. Any of these space centers offer children a great field trip opportunity, hands on science, and a good dose of where we have been and where we are headed. Try to make space, and scientific technologies real for your children. The more real science is to them, the more engaged they will be.
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