By Natalie Adams
On Wednesday, November 8, Arundel astronomy and physics students went on a field trip to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to learn about the new telescope and careers within the agency.
While it is easy to drive to NASA, it is extremely difficult to get in. There are several security measures visitors must go through before entering. Christine Oxman, the astronomy teacher at Arundel, explained that the group of students and teachers went to the visitors center for security clearance. Students were required to bring photo identification and the bus used for transportation was searched by security dogs before the group was permitted to enter through the main gate.
Once inside the gates, the students were split into two groups to make the tour of the facility easier. Chaeli Pitts, one of the astronomy students on the trip, explained that they “took a tour around [the] two buildings and the campus.”
“We learned more about the telescope they’re working on and how they build the mirrors for the telescope,” she said.
Pitts wants to work at NASA in the future, and said that she has “always wanted to be an engineer and just work with space in general.” She believes that field trips such as the trip to NASA are gateways to internship opportunities, which could lead to a career at NASA.
Donovan Santos, another astronomy student, said that he “didn’t actually know that Maryland had a NASA center.” He explained that he enjoyed when the scientists “talked about how they look at different stars,” because he did not know there were different ways to see stars. Santos was slightly disappointed that NASA didn’t let the group touch anything, but overall enjoyed the trip and thinks that it was a great way to learn about everything NASA has to offer.
“I’ve gone to NASA quite a few times myself, but this was the first time I took students,” said Oxman. She believes that the students really enjoyed the trip and plans on doing another trip to NASA in the spring. She said that it is a good place to get internships, and she wanted her students to see all the possibilities that NASA supplies.
“They take all different types of backgrounds from math to geology to oceanography to satellites to engineering. You don’t have to be an astronomer to work at NASA.”