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NASA Sparks Scientific Interest at Richmond International Raceway

Press Release From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014

NASA and teachers from across Virginia will engage the public in science, technology, engineering and math activities at this weekend's NASCAR races at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.

The event will be held Sept. 5 to 6 and is the result of a partnership with Rockets 2 Racecars (R2R), a NASA Langley Educator Professional Development program and the Virginia529 College Savings Plan.

Children of all grade levels will have the opportunity to explore clouds and their role in Earth's climate, solar energy use by NASA and in racing, and Newton's laws of motion.

The activities will be held in the Virginia529 Kids Zone at the Commonwealth Mall near Lot D of the raceway. Kids can discover how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) apply to cars on a racetrack, and what racecars and rockets have in common.

The activities are Friday, Sept. 5, from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They include a Drag Race to Mars Engineering Design Challenge, tire tread and diameter activities, and a Go Green with Solar Energy activity.

Families will also get to see the Rockets 2 Racecars exhibit, where they will learn how space exploration has helped the auto and racing industries and how NASA plays a key role in improving brakes, engine cooling systems and more. In addition, the exhibit will feature artifacts from space and future aircraft concept models.

Race fans also will learn about NASA's plans for space travel via the Space Launch System (SLS), the world's most powerful rocket, and the Orion crew capsule, both of which are being developed.

Orion will carry astronauts to beyond low-Earth orbit, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space.

Orion's first flight test, called Exploration Flight Test-1, is scheduled to launch Dec. 4 atop a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Inflatable models of the Orion and SLS will be on display at the race.

Teachers participating in R2R professional development training will learn how aerospace STEM relates to the racing industry. Teachers will use their newly acquired skills in the Virginia529 Kids Zone, as they work alongside NASA education specialists in the engineering design challenge booths.

Teachers interested in participating should contact NASA Langley's Bonnie Murray at 757-864-3834 orbonnie.murray@nasa.gov.

For more information about Rockets to Racecars, visit http://www.nasa.gov/r2r

For more information about Langley, please go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/langley

 

 

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