NASA turns tech trip into classroom opportunity
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- May 08, 2000
"NASA Mike" is on the road again to show students that space is cool this
time in the hot zone.
Mike Comberiate, external interfaces manager for the Earth Observing
System program at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, has taken students
and teachers to Hilo, Hawaii, to discover how rocks become rainforests.
Their tools: The Internet and NASA's satellite imagery.
Portions of the 10-day trip, which lasts until May 15, will be broadcast
live at coolspace.gsfc.nasa.gov/hawaii as part of class lesson plans.
NASA Mike, as he is most commonly known, has been working through the
Communications Over Obscure Locations Special Purpose Advance Communications
Equipment, or COOLSPACE,
to bring NASA's Earth science data products directly to the classroom. In
the past, he has traveled to Aruba to monitor the total solar eclipse and
to Antarctica to study the ozone hole.
Using NASA's satellite imagery of Hawaiian terrain and weather patterns,
some of the 30 educators traveling with NASA Mike will be able to conduct
distance learning with their classes. Participating schools have purchased
satellite antennas and related equipment.
"We have to do things driven by science and engineering, and get kids
involved," Comberiate said. The more NASA's data is used to enhance learning,
the more justification NASA has for creating new data products through future
space missions, he said.
"We can put out lots of posters and Web sites, but that doesn't necessarily
help you" get people involved, he said. "Technology is making it easier
to get involved."