June 21st is the summer solstice! This is the longest day of the year for most places in the Northern hemisphere, and is when the sun reaches it’s highest point in the sky.
Celebrate by exploring the solar system with NASA’s Solar System Exploration game where you can learn more about the sun, stars, and planets. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/kids/index.cfm
Photo Credit: NASA/European Space Agency. Published: 14 September 1999
On June 16th, 1963 Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space. She spent 71 hours in space and completed 48 orbits before returning to earth. History.com notes that:
“The United States screened a group of female pilots in 1959 and 1960 for possible astronaut training but later decided to restrict astronaut qualification to men. The first American woman in space was astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, who served as mission specialist on a flight of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.” http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-woman-in-space
You can learn more about the women who almost became astronauts in Almost Astronauts: the Story of the Mercury 13 Women by Tanya Lee Stone. You can find this book in the Juvenile Nonfiction section at j629.45 STO.
Today we recommend: Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith.
Unhappy at being sent to stay with his grandmother at the inn she operates, The Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, Scrub discovers that each room is actually a portal to space and the inn’s visitors are aliens who are vacationing on Earth.
At first middle-schooler Scrub is irritated that he has been sent to the gloomy state of Washington from his home in Florida to stay with his grandmother for the summer but he quickly figures out that everything is not as it seems at the quirky inn. Scrub is eventually enlisted to create disguises so the alien vacationers can pretend to be human and the real fun begins. This book is full of shenanigans and all sorts of tricky situations for Scrubb and the visiting aliens. If you’re looking for a humorous science fiction story this is the book for you! You can find it in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SMITH.
If you love Science Fiction, there are more science fiction books available at the library and you can look at our science fiction bibliography at http://www.bartlettlibrary.org/greatreadskids/ScienceFiction.shtml
On this day, May 14th, in 1973 the unmanned Skylab 1, America’s first space station, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. Immediately there were problems with the launch as a meteor ripped off one of the solar panels and part of the shield. The next Skylab mission would be launched on May 25th with crew members who were trained to make the workshop safe for them to work in.
You can learn more about the Skylab missions at NASA’s website: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/history/skylab.html
Image Credit: NASA
This week’s Pinterest vs Reality is brought to us by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) who craft about making a Pinwheel Galaxy Pinwheel really caught our eye. In celebration of the warm weather I thought I would give it a shot.
You can find the full directions for the craft at https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/pinwheel-galaxy/en/ as well as the printout of the pinwheel. Other than the print out you will need scissors, a hole punch, a popsicle stick or chopstick, and a pipe cleaner. I used a popsicle stick but I think that a chop stick might work even better.
My main suggestion is to pay close attention to the warning NASA gives: “Pinwheel not spinning? Make sure the pipe cleaner isn’t secured so tightly that it doesn’t let the paper move. If the paper flaps are hitting the stick, flatten out the pinwheel on a table. Then carefully open each point from the front. This will let air in to move the pinwheel.”
Following the directions I managed to make a pinwheel that really does spin! Looks like we can call this a success!