Asteroid Day at NASA Wallops

Asteroid Day at NASA Wallops

Asteroid Day at NASA Wallops https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/14152817/nnasa-wallops.jpeg 512 341 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/14152817/nnasa-wallops.jpeg

The NASA Wallops Flight Facility, situated on Wallops Island along the eastern coast of Virginia in the United States, has served as a rocket launch site since its establishment in 1943. Over the years, it has been the launchpad for more than 16,000 rockets, facilitating missions carrying out a wide array of scientific experiments, cutting-edge technology, and satellite deployments.

Its Visitor Center provides an enriching experience with complimentary exhibits, inviting visitors to delve into the realms of aeronautics, engineering, earth sciences, sounding rockets, science balloons, NASA missions, and the site’s rich historical background.

On the left, panoramic view of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. On the right, an inside view of its visitor center. (NASA Waalops/Ameresco)

Moreover, the Wallops Visitor Center extends its offerings with public programmes, engaging virtual tours, educational school programmess, homeschool workshops, captivating special events, informative group tours, and exciting opportunities to witness rocket launches from Wallops Island.

The centre has been an active participant in Asteroid Day for two consecutive years. Dana Wright, an Exhibit Specialist and Informal Educator, leads these events. She learned about Asteroid Day during her previous employment and subsequently introduced it to the centre.

NASA Wallops Visitor Center poster for the Asteroid Day event held in 2023.

Wright meticulously crafted educational objectives and curated a series of engaging activities with the intent of enlightening the public about various facets of asteroids. These activities shed light on the pivotal role asteroids play in the formation of our solar system, the historical and consequential impact events on Earth, the promising potential for asteroid-derived resources to facilitate future deep space exploration endeavours, NASA’s vigilant monitoring and study of these celestial “fossils,” and the resources made accessible to the public for exploring asteroids, including tools like the “Eyes on Asteroids.”

Public interaction with experts was one of the highlights of Asteroid Day held at NASA Wallops Visitor Center

In the 2023 edition, the Wallops Visitor Center presented a dynamic program that featured interactive, hands-on activities, captivating scientific demonstrations, theatre programs, and enlightening discussions with subject matter experts. Notably, the event welcomed esteemed guests, including USGS geologist David Powars, renowned for his mapping of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater. Additionally, the event boasted the presence of Michael Moreau, Engineering Project Manager for the OSIRIS-REx Mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and Coralie Adam, an Aerospace Engineer specialising in Guidance, Navigation, and Control for missions like Lucy and OSIRIS-REx-APEX.

The event, along with all its activities, offered a complimentary experience accessible to a diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds. Impressively, attendees journeyed from six different American states to partake in the Center’s engaging events.

Fun activities, such as Dino Bowling, helped understand the history of asteroid impacts on Earth.

Wright’s contagious passion for the study of asteroids is evident. She offers staff, volunteers, and the public the opportunity to explore the captivating realm of asteroids through a wide variety of engaging activities and experiences. We hope to see more events organised by NASA Wallops Visitor Center in the coming years.

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