Wednesday March 14th, 2012
Program Features New Director and Curriculum
Whether its hunting Mars bugs, building a spy satellite or trying to stop a killer asteroid, it’s all on the list of “things to do this summer” at the NM Space Academy’s summer science camps. For twenty six years, summer camp at the New Mexico Museum of Space History has thrilled and inspired thousands of students from all over the world. This summer, with new management on board and a curriculum that’s out of this world, camp promises to be on every kid’s “to do” list.
The new Education Director, Dave Dooling, comes to the museum from the National Solar Observatory in nearby Sunspot where he was education officer for more than nine years.
“This is going to be a fun and challenging job,” Dooling said. “Besides being an important part of America’s history and future, especially at Spaceport America, space is a great way to teach students the basics of science, technology, engineering and math. The principles are the same, and space is an engaging, natural way to get students interested and prepared for any career.”
Previously, Dooling was project manager for the microgravity education contract at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, for almost three years. While there he led development of a wireless free-fall demonstrator for educators. He also worked eight years as science editor of The Huntsville [AL] Times, covering Space Shuttle development and early missions, and two years as curriculum developer for U.S. Space Academy. He also is one of the few reporters to make a two-hour, underwater spacewalk simulation and ride NASA’s KC-135 “Vomit Comet.”
He is author of The Christmas Planet (2010) and co-author of three books, Space Travel: A History (with Wernher von Braun and Frederick I. Ordway III, 1985), Engineering Tomorrow (with Trudy E. Bell, 2000), and Huntsville: A Pictorial History (with Sharon Dooling, 1980). He has written for national and international magazines, including Spaceflight and IEEE Spectrum. His worked has been recognized with press and history awards from the National Space Club, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
He holds a master’s degree in space studies from the University of North Dakota, and is working on a master’s in science education at Montana State University. He also teaches astronomy part-time through New Mexico State University.
Under Dooling’s direction, the New Mexico Space Academy will offer three different programs this summer for kids entering grades K through 12. These build on popular programs offered in past years and add exciting new activities. Summer camp themes for 2012 will be “Mars Base One”, “Spy Camp”, and “Dino Camp”. All camp activities include building and launching rockets and a field trip to local facilities, based on availability. Registration for the camps is underway and information can be found on the museum’s website or at the museum’s education offices inside the IMAX Theater.
Mars Base One features astrobiology and how scientists hunt for life on other worlds, including the illusive Mars bug. Cadets will learn how New Mexico helped put Americans on the Moon and get to know their local star at the National Solar Observatory.
Spy Camp covers the basics of covert operations and espionage—and how spy satellites work. Cadets will build a working model of the famous KH-9 Big Bird spy satellite and launch rockets with small cameras on board.
Dino Camp will show cadets how the dinosaurs lived and died. They will learn about Coelophysis, the state dinosaur, and how telescopes in New Mexico watch for the Big Rock that might have our names on it. They will make a big splash creating craters, then launch rockets to save Earth from an asteroid.
Eight, one-week camp sessions will be held from June 4 through August 3 on the campus of the New Mexico Museum of Space History. No camp will be held the week of the Fourth of July. Camps are offered as day camps and overnight camps. Discounts are available for multiple reservations or military families.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 505-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Hey kids! Want to build your own spy satellite? Build a working model of this massive KH-9 Hexagon spy satellite this summer at the New Mexico Space Academy’s Spy Camp. This model is on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. Longer than a school bus at 60 feet in length and weighing 30,000 pounds at launch, 20 KH-9 Hexagons were launched by the National Reconnaissance Office between 1971 and 1986. The summer camp satellites won’t be quite that big!
CREDIT: Roger Guillemette/SPACE.com