Native educators see science in motion on NASA flights


ICC astronomy teacher Bob Swanson, left, and Guntown Center Faculty science instructor Connie Gusmus flew excessive into the environment on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. (Courtesy)

By Emma Crawford Kent

Day by day Journal

TUPELO – Two Tupelo educators returned to Mississippi final weekend after every week spent observing researchers and scientists on a NASA analysis plane.

Connie Gusmus, science instructor at Guntown Center Faculty, and Bob Swanson, astronomy teacher at Itawamba Neighborhood Faculty, have been certainly one of 11 pairs of educators from throughout the nation chosen to fly on SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy).

The educators have been taking part within the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program, an expert growth alternative for educators designed to enhance educating strategies and to encourage college students.

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SOFIA research infrared wavelengths coming into earth’s environment.

Gusmus and Swanson arrived in Palmdale, California, the place SOFIA would take off, and took their first flight on March 6.

They flew over the Pacific Ocean, buying information to be analyzed alongside the way in which.

“It was superb,” Gusmus stated of the expertise.

On March eight, they flew once more, touring up the west coast of the USA, over Canada and slicing throughout the Midwest to return to California.

“It was actually an once-in-a-lifetime alternative,” Swanson stated. “If they’d have me, I might do it once more in a heartbeat.”

They even flew alongside Route 66, a bucket-list merchandise for Gusmus – though touring the well-known roadway on SOFIA was slightly completely different than it could have been in a automobile, because the plane flies at almost 40,000 ft, simply above the Earth’s environment.

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“I simply can’t high that in a automobile,” Gusmus stated.

Gusmus and Swanson additionally noticed the Northern Lights as they flew throughout Canada.

The flights have been 10-hour, in a single day flights.

Gusmus and Swanson each stated they left with a better understanding of SOFIA and its mission. SOFIA, a Boeing 747 geared up with scientific devices and a big telescope, focuses on the small print of scientific processes in house and permits scientists to research how and why sure issues occur.

Guntown Middle School science teacher Connie Gusmus checks a computer screen displaying instrument readings during her flight high into Earth’s atmosphere as part of the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. (Courtesy)

Guntown Center Faculty science instructor Connie Gusmus checks a pc display displaying instrument readings throughout her flight excessive into Earth’s environment as a part of the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. (Courtesy)

It does this principally by monitoring completely different wavelengths.

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The 2 lecturers received to see SOFIA’s many devices, and Gusmus stated it was fascinating to see how the plane has tailored to altering know-how.

For Swanson, the most effective elements of the expertise was interacting with the scientists on board.

“It was simply to me actually cool to be within the presence of so many gifted individuals,” Swanson stated. “It was simply neat to see science in motion.”

Gusmus and Swanson have been joined on their flight by a scientist from Italy finding out a dwarf galaxy about 120 million gentle years from Earth.

“It was so gratifying that she was on board, and you possibly can see the joy in her eyes and her voice as the information was coming in,” Swanson stated.

Each stated they look ahead to sharing their experiences with the neighborhood and their college students. Swanson is planning a Yard Astronomy occasion on ICC’s Fulton campus for April 20.

Twitter: @emcrawfordkent

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