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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASA Education Specialist Presents Cosmosphere Teacher Workshop

Mike McGlone, a NASA education specialist, will present a Teacher Workshop at the Cosmosphere on April 19 and 20. McGlone will focus on the Hubble Telescope, which was deployed 20 years ago. Cost is only $25 for Kansas teachers. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn material that can be taken back to the classroom right away. It's geared for K-12 teachers. Register by calling Laurie at 620-662-2305 or 1-800-397-0330, ext. 323. Graduate credit is available.

The presentation will touch on multiple aspects of telescopes, astronomy and the Hubble in particular. He will discuss the history of telescopes and how they work, the electromagnetic specturm, how distance is measured and how the Hubble is used to classify galaxies. He will also talk about the challenges in servicing the Hubble, including the space environment, spacesuits and spacewalks.

The Hubble was deployed on April 25, 1990, during the STS-31 mission. It is the only space telescope designed to be serviced in space, and that became necessary almost immediately when it was discovered the main mirror had been ground incorrectly. A mission in 1993 fixed the problem, giving it the intended quality. It takes extremely sharp images, which have changed our understanding of the universe. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe. Hubble's final servicing mission was completed in 2009. It is expected to function until at least 2014 when another space telecope is scheduled to launch.

McGlone is a former Kansas teacher, and says that experience means he knows what teachers are looking for. He says the Hubble is a great example that can be used in the classroom. "Basic science and math principles are what make Hubble work. It gives kids a way to relate," he says, and "the images have an impact." He says NASA surveys show people connect to missions because of the Hubble images.

He says there's a way to address the Kansas standards, and still have fun, and that's what he wants to do. McGlone has a long term interest in sceince, starting with his earliest days playing with a chemistry set. His dad worked as a geologist, so they spent family vacations "looking at rocks" and going to science museums. He says he's still looking at rocks, just different ones now.

McGlone has been working at NASA for six years now and says this position as an education specialist has brought his broad interests in multiple areas together. He spends 50% of his time on the road, travelling eight states, teaching teachers. The Cosmosphere is thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to Kansas teachers.

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