“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Can you believe this opening television monologue has been famous for over 50 years? Since 1966 Star Trek has opened each series with these words. Who would of known that these words stand true today.
My family and I recently attended a James Webb Space Telescope Night hosted by the Montrose County Library. And wow, the event was an eye opener that both reignited my curiosity for space exploration and also ignited the curiosity of my children. We spent time going around learning about meteor impacts on the moon, light pollution, ice planets and thermographic imaging. But, the star (no pun intended) of the night was the James Webb Space Telescope, JWST, scheduled to launch 18 December, 2021. And as any inquisitive Daddy would do, I started digging for information.
Attached to an Ariane 5 Rocket, this bad boy will be launched into outer space, approximately one million miles. You know, right around Lagrange point number 2 (my thoughts exactly). Shielded from the sun, the JWST using infrared imagery, spectroscopy and just for kicks a thermographic camera, will give scientists (parents), the opportunity to look further back inside dust clouds to the time that stars and planets were being formed. In fact, my research into the JWST revealed the increased chances of discovering extrasolar planets. This is great news for my son and I who are constantly on the lookout for aliens headed our way. Either way, if all goes as planned, the JWST will have a ten year mission of space exploration in ways our children will be studying long after.
To be honest, which I have been, but even more so, it has been a few weeks since attending the JWST feature night at the library. Since then I have been captivated by the information gained from my research. I could not even begin to list the resources that are available to help engage your children’s minds with this upcoming launch and astronomy in general. To educators, star gazers, alien hunters and most of all parents, I cannot emphasize how much free information that is available to encourage Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math, STREAM. So please join NASA and me (astronaut daddy) as we prepare for countdown.