Sunday, February 5, 2012

Last day: SEEC conference at the Johnson Space Center

The final day at the Space Exploration Educators Conference was phenomenal! It began with a hands-on Mission Control workshop that gave many educational ideas for hands-on learning, as well as made connections to the highly-creative thinking that was part of Apollo 13's amazing landing. As an appropriate follow-up, that day's keynote speaker was a personal hero of mine, Gene Krantz; the lead Flight Director of Apollo 13 who, despite unbelievable odds, brought the crew home safe and sound (Ed Harrison played his part in the Apollo 13 movie). I was given the gift of hearing him speak from his personal experience, for an entire hour, just 2 meters in front of me. It was captivating and, to top it off, he enthusiastically answered my personal question: What teacher most inspired you, and why (see video)? Better yet? He thanked me, twice, for giving him a patch from our own Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) and kept it in his pocket for safe keeping. I am on cloud nine!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 2: Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) at NASA's Johnson Space Center

Day 2 began with astronaut Leroy Chiao, as the keynote speaker, describing his four missions; one including 6 months living on the International Space Station (ISS). Afterwards I attended a session which gave details on how best to apply for opportunities to fly an experiment on a future microgravity plane mission, and also tried out a biological experiment already completed by students and educators at zero-g. The highlight of the day, however, was conducting an ISS simulation using Scuba gear and the same underwater training exercises that are given to NASA astronauts at the initiation of their training. Our guides were from NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab, and our team came in 2nd (out of 4) for our timed assembly test.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 1: Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) at NASA's Johnson Space Center

SEEC Day 1: Today I had the opportunity to present at NASA and inform other educators about the satellite and aerospace education taking place in Ecuador, including making 3D models of Ecuador's Pegasus satellite! On the flip side, one of NASA's ISS risk managers taught me more about the International Space Station,and a NASA engineer also informed us about where the future is headed with the Orion capsule and Space Launch deep space!