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Home > August 2014 > STEM S.T.A.R.S. — Student Astronomers Reaching for Space!
STEM S.T.A.R.S. — Student Astronomers Reaching for Space!
Posted: 8/26/2014 9:03:34 AM

Last week, we welcomed aboard rising 7th and 8th grade aspiring student astronomers from all five New York City boroughs for a week-long, space-themed camp. The program was part of the New York City Department of Education’s STEM Matters initiative.

Many of the activities referred back to Intrepid’s contributions to the Space Race. In the early 1960s, Intrepid was designated as a primary recovery vessel for a Mercury mission flown by astronaut Scott Carpenter and a Gemini mission flown by astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom. In 2011, NASA awarded the space shuttle orbiter Enterprise to the Museum.

At the beginning of the week, campers looked for sun spots using solar viewing glasses on the flight deck. Then, they built a scale model of the Earth-Moon system, viewed gases like oxygen, helium and argon using special spectrum glasses, and designed their own space capsule that had to protect an “eggstronaut” from a three story fall!
Campers looking for sun spots
Campers discussed the future of space exploration in our solar system and had the opportunity to design their own Mars habitat in a computer-based modeling program called Tinkercad. The final designs were then physically produced using the Intrepid Museum’s seven 3D printers.
Campers using Tinkercad
The camp utilized the Museum’s portable planetarium, which is one of the newest and most popular educational opportunities offered to our visitors. Campers learned about the mythologies behind the constellations in the night sky and then used the stars in the planetarium to determine our latitude here in New York City.

Campers had the opportunity to connect with other students their own age who share the same passion for astronomy, science and math. We certainly have enjoyed having our STEM S.T.A.R.S. at the Intrepid Museum this week. They worked hard on many projects and the campers found the experience fun and inspiring! Maybe we will even see one of these cool 3D printed Mars habitats on the red planet sometime in the future.