When Woodstock met NASA
Before Mrs Cavaglia became the mum of a Wenona student, she was a NASA scientist who worked on the Space Shuttle launch. This week she dropped in to Woodstock to tell K-2 girls about the science of space and getting there.
The girls heard how the space shuttle gets up beyond earth’s atmosphere and its boosters fall off, later to be collected from the ocean. Mrs Cavaglia described space-like conditions - practised by astronauts in a plane that flies up at 45 degrees with a double-gravity force so you cannot move at all - and how this makes astronauts feel sick. They heard about zero gravity and how Velcro, hooks and straps tie things down.
Mrs Cavaglia helped with preparations and testing, as well as launching and landing the space shuttle. She also told Woodstock about the International Space Station, and how teams of scientists from 14 countries worked together to build it. She showed the girls the photographs of solar panels on the space station that enable astronauts live there for six months to a year. Woodstock girls were on the ball and asked relevant questions.
“Why did you want to go to space?” asked Phoebe.
Annabelle asked, “How long does it take to get to outer space?”.
Georgia wondered, “Did you ever get to see people you know in space?”.
Angel asked, “How much space is there?” - and was told “space goes on and on and on - so it’s infinite”.
Sophie asked, “Why does space go on forever?”- and Mrs Cavaglia who had answered everything in an easily understood way, had to say, “I’m not sure there is an answer to that question!”
What a thought-provoking session for K-2 students, who will wonder about space but not wonder about whether girls can be astronauts.