Morehead Planetarium and Science Center hosts International Space Station downlink

For many years, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center has been bringing the celebrities and cosmos to North Carolinians.

However on July 12, for the primary time, area got here to Morehead.

Joined by group leaders, together with Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, the planetarium hosted a NASA in-flight schooling downlink for native youngsters to listen to from astronauts aboard the Worldwide House Station.

NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough just about visited with dozens of kids attending summer time camp at Morehead on Monday morning, answering recorded questions and discussing the work that they’re conducting in area.

Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough in the International Space Station.

(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The questions have been prerecorded by youngsters at Morehead’s Chapel Hill camps and different summer time packages all through North Carolina, and NASA then streamed the astronauts’ dwell solutions over YouTube. Morehead projected the livestream inside its 68-foot planetarium dome.

“Offering wealthy experiences like this can be a core a part of our goal and mission,” mentioned Todd Boyette, director of Morehead. “We’re excited to associate with NASA to provide our college students the chance to attach with real-life astronauts and expertise the surprise of area.”

Monday’s downlink was simply the latest connection between the planetarium and NASA. The 2 organizations have an extended partnership that started with astronaut coaching packages within the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, Morehead has collaborated with the company to develop planetarium exhibits, assist the analysis of NASA-funded scientists and produce astronauts to North Carolina for particular appearances.

“Working with NASA all the time appears like a chance to honor our roots as a planetarium and as a spot the place individuals can be taught concerning the stars and past,” Boyette mentioned.

Boyette hoped the chance to listen to instantly from McArthur and Kimbrough confirmed the campers that astronauts are common individuals and {that a} area profession is attainable.

“A spot like Morehead needs to offer these varieties of connections,” he mentioned.

The expertise did simply that for Aida Despirito of Chapel Hill. The 13-year-old camper mentioned she was most occupied with listening to how McArthur and Kimbrough turned astronauts and the sorts of science and math abilities wanted for the job.

“It gave me a special perspective for positive,” she mentioned.

Penelope Farris, a 10-year-old from Pittsboro who was attending camp at Morehead, was excited to be taught extra concerning the astronauts’ six-hour spacewalks and the experiments they’re conducting on the Worldwide House Station.

“It was fairly cool. I received to look at them doing what they’d usually do,” Farris mentioned. “I simply thought that was actually cool since you received to see what it appears to be like like.”

Proper earlier than the downlink, Amy Sayle, an educator at Morehead, confirmed the campers contained in the planetarium precisely spot the Worldwide House Station within the evening sky. After seeing what life within the area station appears to be like like, Aida and Penelope each mentioned they plan to search for tonight to catch one other glimpse of the Worldwide House Station flying 250 miles above the Earth.

Watch a replay of the downlink

Scroll to Top