Two educators to become astronauts will record science lessons while aboard the International Space Station. The lessons were initially projected to be delivered by Christa McAuliffe, the first “teacher in space” who died on the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.
Joe Acaba, who was a high school science teacher before becoming part of NASA, declared his plan from aboard the space station in a live broadcast with McAuliffe’s material.
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“It’s been 32 years since we lost the Challenger crew. One of them, of course, was Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space, so I can’t think of a better time or a better place to make this announcement,” said Acaba.
He further announced he will be collaborating with Ricky Arnold in the next few months. They will be working with the Challenger Center to tape various of Christa’s fundamental lesson plans that she intended to do in space.
“We are looking forward to sharing that with educators and students around the world,” Acaba proclaimed.
Arnold was a science and mathematics teacher, who gave lessons in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania. He will launch to the space station this March, two weeks after Acaba returns to Earth.
The lessons of Christa McAuliffe are part of NASA‘s Year of Education on Station effort.
“Filming Christa McAuliffe’s lessons in orbit this year is an incredible way to honor and remember her,” stated Mike Kincaid, the associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education said in a statement released Friday.
According to him, McAuliffe emerged these lessons with expertise and attention. Their value is very big, especially because of the knowledge they can provide for the educators and students in the STEM. Thus, the Challenger’s mission will have a true legacy.
Christa McAuliffe was a high school teacher of social studies classes. She was chosen through a public quest to be the first teacher to go into space.
She and her six STS-51L crew members died when a weak rocket booster managed to break down Challenger. The event happened only 73 seconds into flight on January 28, 1986.
The instant she arrived in space, McAuliffe intended to administer six science lessons. Their topic differed from magnetism to simple machines.
McAuliffe was about to experiment with fluids and demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion for schoolchildren. Unfortunately, she never arrived in the orbit.
Acaba and Arnold will conduct four of her inductions, namely, liquids in microgravity, Newton’s laws of physics, effervescence and chromatography. Few of the lessons will be altered resting on material available on the space station.
Acaba’s and Arnold’s videos and the classroom lessons will be available for the public this spring, on the Challenger Center’s website.
“We are thrilled to work with NASA’s educator astronauts to bring Christa’s lessons to life.”
“For more than 30 years, we have continued the mission of the Challenger crew, reaching more than five million students with our hands-on programs.”
We are honored to have the opportunity to complete Christa’s lessons and share them with students and teachers around the world,” said Challenger Center’s president and CEO, Lance Bush.
Two other teachers have honored McAuliffe work and also flown into space. Barbara Morgan was McAuliffe’s backup before launching on the spacecraft Endeavour in 2007. Dottie Metcalf-Lindenberger was the other astronaut who flew aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2010.
McAuliffe planned to keep a journal during her space shuttle mission. Acaba said he’s been making entries in his journal during his 14 years as an astronaut.