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Wyoming Space Grant Consortium Newsletter - PaSSWORD

Volume 10, Spring 1999


  • Wyoming Students Contact MIR
  • ERC News

Wyoming Students Contact MIR

Paul Crips -- Carey Jr. High, Cheyenne

"Greetings, Wyoming!"

The distinct Australian accent of NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas aboard the MIR Space Station was music to the ears of the students gathered at the Carey Junior High School Amateur Radio Station KC7OEK.

The school’s Amateur Radio Experiment application was sent in a few years ago and in March the wait proved to be worth it as 15 students stepped up to the telephone link to ask Dr. Thomas student-generated questions about living and working in space.  Almost 70 people were present in the small communication technology laboratory to witness the history-making event; including students, parents, school staff, Superintendent of Public Instruction Judy Catchpole, and representatives of US West, the University of Wyoming, and the media.

The communication link was made through the Johnson Space Center’s Amateur Radio Club W5RRR via an ultra high frequency telephone bridge. Bob Mathews, amateur call sign AA7QV, welcomed Dr. Thomas and explained that Wyoming was a large state with a small population. He then turned the telephone link over to the students.

Beth Harris, the top student amateur radio operator in the US three years ago and past president of the school’s ham radio club, had the honor of asking Dr. Thomas the first question.  Beth’s question dealt with observing the atmosphere from MIR’s position in space.  In response to whether or not the current El Nino event was observable from space, Dr. Thomas replied that he could see no difference in the cloud formations caused by the warmer Pacific Ocean.

Danny Poelma, incumbent president of the ham radio club and call sign KC7WOV, was next up with an inquiry as to how Dr. Thomas entertained himself during his off-time in space.  The seasoned space explorer informed the listeners that his lap top computer provided plenty of mind challenging games.  Dr. Thomas also likes to listen to music on his CD player.  For a change of pace, he plays the classical guitar while orbiting our planet at 17,500 miles per hour!

The students had spent weeks carefully writing and rehearsing their questions in order to make the most of the estimated ten minute orbital window of communication with MIR.  When the window closed and the communication link was lost, the room remained silent for a moment as all present contemplated the significance of what had just transpired.  Space had come very close to home on this day.  Perhaps one day some of the students present when space came to call will return the visit.


ERC News

Laurn Wilhelm

The NASA Education Division disseminates educational products and materials for teachers and students of all grade levels through the NASA Centers via the Educator Resource Center Network (ERCN),  formerly known as the Teacher Resource Center Network (TRCN).  The ERCN forms a distribution system for NASA space science related educational materials that reaches over 220,000 educators each year.

Educators need easy access to NASA-generated programs, technologies, and discoveries, to help them bring the excitement of space science into the classroom.  NASA has integrated mathematics, science, and technology in these educational materials that serve well to supplement and enhance existing curricula.  The Educational Resource Center located at the University of Wyoming has videotapes, slides, audiotapes, publications, lesson plans, activities and software available for check out to Wyoming educators.  (See next page for ERC hours and contact information.)

Currently, Wyoming Space Grant and the ERC are working together to improve the overall organization of the Center and the operation of the educator check-out process.  The combined efforts include recataloging all materials, conducting a comprehensive inventory in order to compile a master list of the materials on hand, duplicating audio and video tapes, and increasing teacher awareness of the Center throughout Wyoming.

Questions, comments, and suggestions for the ERC will be much appreciated! Please direct all correspondence to Laurn Wilhelm.  Contact information is listed below.


This page was last updated Tuesday, October 26, 2010 12:14 PM

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