NASA Visits Columbus for First-Ever Community Day

COLUMBUS, Ga. --- More than a dozen guests from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) took over Columbus on Saturday, May 6 for “Columbus Goes to Mars,” a free, community-wide event aimed at exploring science, space and careers at NASA.

Guests met NASA experts from America’s spaceport, participated in hands-on activities, and learned about the vast variety of careers available at NASA and in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). This event marked the first time NASA’s Kennedy Space Center delivered their community day program outside of their home town of Titusville, Fla.

“The NASA/KSC team was extremely excited to bring a piece of the inspirational work of exploration to Columbus, Georgia,” said Joshua Santora, program specialist at the NASA/KSC PX-E Education Office.

Some of the NASA guests in attendance were:

-- Joshua Santora, KSC program specialist
-- Rex Engelhardt, launch services program mission manager
-- Lois Kim, visual strategist at JPL
-- Lesley Fletcher, KSC deputy education chief
-- Kevin Villa, system safety engineer
-- Weiping Yu, engineer and physicist
-- Jonathan J. Serrano Otero, aerospace technologist

Presentations and activities were stationed at three local “launch” sites: CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the National Infantry Museum, and the Columbus Museum, throughout the day. 

“We were honored that NASA’s Kennedy Space Center thought of Columbus first when deciding to take their annual community day outside of Titusville,” said Shawn Cruzen, executive director of CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center. “I was excited about the multiple speakers talking about careers in STEM-related fields, science demonstrations, and fun educational activities this event brought to Columbus.”

Some of those educational activities included:

-- Expert presentations by engineers and educators from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
-- Vesta mosaic art
-- NASA’s PINK team robot
-- “Humans in space” demonstrations
-- Air rocket launches (supervised by the same people who launch real rockets into space)
-- STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) presentations by local educators
-- Professional teacher development workshops with NASA educators