class is in session...everywhere
Check out this amazing resource provided by The New York Times. From art to science to social studies, this article features free resources from museums, aquariums, and NASA too!
CELEBRATE "Launch America"
There are a number of science museums, observatories, and even NASA facilities, that offer online resources to help keep us all busy while staying home. Read on to learn about each and choose one to try this week. It might not be as fun as visiting in person, but it will do until these facilities re-open for visitors again.
Nasa's Kids Club
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“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Google Arts & Culture has put together an incredible interactive site that allows visitors to explore Chicago’s Adler Planetarium from anywhere in the world. From online exhibits and photo galleries to a point-of-view Google ‘Street’ view that allows you to ‘walk’ through different parts of the Planetarium, this is a great opportunity for space enthusiasts to explore the historic 90-year old building and all of the modern artifacts and exhibits.
ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), Atacama, Chile
The Atacama desert in northern Chile is one of the best places on earth for observational astronomy. Low humidity, high altitude, and minimal light pollution come together to create a pristine stargazing spot – and professional astronomers take full advantage of that at ALMA.
If you take the ALMA virtual tour online, you’ll explore the facility through a series of 360-degree photos. From the antenna array (which does the observational work for astronomers doing research at ALMA) to the administrative spaces, this gives you a peek behind the scenes at how much technology it takes to discover and study astronomical wonders like a ‘baby planet’ or Comet 2I/Borisov.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., USA
You can tour the National Mall Building in Washington D.C., which includes an exhibit dedicated to astronaut Sally Ride, halls and exhibits of space science artifacts from different eras, and a great up-close view of the LM-2 Lunar Module in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.
At the virtual Udvar-Hazy Center, you can explore the James S. McDonnell Space Hanger which includes a prized space vehicle on display: the Space Shuttle Discovery. On your virtual ‘walk,’ you can go all the way around Discovery – but don’t forget to use your mouse to look up and around at all of the other space vehicles and scale rocket replicas.
NASA Langley Research Center, Virginia, USA
You might recognize NASA Langley Research Center as the facility where Hidden Figures like Katherine Johnson worked during their careers helping NASA reach space. Langley is not one of more popular NASA facilities for visitors; crowds usually gather for in-person tours of Kennedy in Florida, Johnson in Texas, JPL in California, and even Goddard in Maryland.
But since in-person tours at those facilities aren’t an option right now anyway, why not take a virtual tour of this one? You can learn about Building 2103 (the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility), ‘step into’ the subsonic wind tunnel, and ‘explore’ the Flight Research Hangar. Some places on the virtual tour are places you couldn’t even visit in-person if you wanted to!
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Virtual tour spots include two wind tunnels – one that’s for low-speed testing and another that’s for supersonic testing –, a ballistics impact lab (to ensure spacecraft can handle micrometeorites and other space debris), the Zero Gravity facility where NASA studies microgravity, and the propulsion systems laboratory.
Palomar Observatory, California, USA
One more space place you can take a virtual tour is Palomar Observatory, located high in the mountains outside of San Diego. Palomar is home to the Hale Telescope, a 200-inch telescope which was the largest in the world until 1975. On the virtual tour, you can explore the visitor center, inside the Hale dome, and inside the Oschin and Mayer domes – where two more of Palomar’s telescopes are housed.