This summer, students in the Journey to Space enrichment class learned about stars and galaxies, explored planets and moons, and discovered the unknown through space missions.
Each week, students heard from speakers, experts and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Caltech and the Carnegie Observatories. Students participated in hands-on activities and amazing insider field trips during visits to Chandler's community partners.
Dr. Charles Elachi, the former Director of JPL, and Peter Kaufman, the CEO of Glenair, riveted students with stories and incredible slides of the Mars rover mission. Dr. Elachi urged students to “dare mighty things” and “go all-in” to achieve far beyond their wildest dreams.
When the class later visited JPL for a personal tour, students especially enjoyed seeing the mission control center, a mission satellite under construction in a clean room, and a fascinating video explaining JPL’s mission to explore the solar system.
At Caltech, Professor Nick Hutzler toured students through his lab, and explained his research into the big bang, antimatter, and dark matter. Students learned how Dr. Hutzler uses lasers to detect unknown particles by bouncing photons off of supercooled atoms.
Next up was a visit to the LIGO lab at Caltech, hosted by Alena Ananyeva and Stephen Appert. LIGO’s scientists were the first to physically sense distortions in space-time itself caused by passing gravitational waves generated by two colliding black holes nearly 1.3 billion light years away. What an opportunity to hear about this incredible research!
In the final week of class, scientists from Carnegie Observatory helped students build their own telescopes using prism glasses. On site at Carnegie Observatory, students peeked through a telescope at the sun to see a solar event larger than the earth, created a mini-comet, and toured the stars in a planetarium show.
“This class was amazing for students and Chandler faculty alike,” said Stephanie Ho, Chandler’s lower school science specialist. “The hands-on science was unbeatable - lasers, rovers, satellites and telescopes. Even better was how our students saw the passion, dedication and inspiration of such accomplished scientists.”
This inspiring summer class coincided with city-wide events during Pasadena's Astronomy Week and the 2018 COSPAR conference in July. Chandler thanks its community partners for such an amazing learning opportunity!