You may have to search for a while before you find "Comet Colucciello" shooting across the night sky.
Grade 8 students visiting the Challenger Learning Center Space Simulator at the Museum of Innovation and Science (MiSci) in Schenectady today named an unknown object in space after their fellow student, Seth Colucciello, who first noticed the long-range object coming at the shuttle while he was on the crew.
The students, 33 of Scotia-Glenville's accelerated science and math students in grade 8, visited the simulator today. The top grade 6 students will visit tomorrow, Friday - December 11, and top grade 7 students will be at the simulator on Friday, December 18.
The students worked in two capacities as scientists and engineers in the simulated mission: those onboard the spacecraft performed critical experiments and activities and those in Mission Control monitored and guided the spacecraft crew.
They worked collaboratively in order to have success on the mission – performing essential tasks that astronauts, scientists, and engineers perform for mission success. All students had different roles. They constantly faced the challenge of keeping their mission on track and had to deal with crises which arose during the mission, such as an unexplained drop in humidity and determining the unknown object in the sky.
"It was really fun," said student Emma Freihofer, who was one of the voices behind mission control and shuttle command today. "I was afraid I would mess up. It was a good experience." She said she is looking forward to the new release of Star Wars in movie theaters in the coming weeks but really needs to go back and watch the original movies from 30 years ago.
"We learned a lot about what happens onboard," said student Alex Opiela. "I like learning this stuff," he said, adding that his teacher, Neal Cummings, prepared the class for what they would encounter as operators in mission control and being on the shuttle crew.
They were led along the way by Commanders Marie DiCristofaro and Victoria Buff from MiSci.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to leave the classroom and work in a high-tech facility,” said Randy Jenkins, Scotia-Glenville academic head for science and mathematics. “Our greatest hope is that students will be inspired by this experience to further their studies of math, science and technology. Who knows, maybe one of these students will be the first to set foot on Mars, or will return the human race to the moon!”
This trip was made possible by a $2,426 donation from MiSci to allow the Scotia-Glenville students to attend.
Below are a few images from today. Click on the image to enlarge it.