Deputy Section Head of Radio Astrophysics and Sensing, in the Remote Sensing Division of the Naval Research Laboratory Visits Third Grade Astronomers

The mysteries of Outer Space inspire the imaginations of students of all ages. Imagine being a third grade student, and having the opportunity to learn about the universe, develop a sense of wonder about how it works, and then have your questions answered by the . The Indian Creek Class of 2027 had the opportunity of a lifetime as Dr. Tracy Clarke (parent of Alex and Abby) came in to speak with the class about space.

Before her visit, Dr. Clarke asked the students to write down any questions they had pertaining to their Astronomy unit. She then created her presentation to specifically answer their questions. The students generated a wide variety of sophisticated questions and gained insider information about the wonders of the universe.

“Is there life on other planets?” (Most likely - We did find the building blocks of life. Peptides and amino acids may have come to Earth on comets and these are the foundation for life here.)

“If there is life on other planets why don’t the aliens contact us?” (The Universe is BIG!)

“How many planets do we have?” (2,341 +)

“Is there junk in space?” (Yes! We are tracking ~18,000 pieces and there are more than 170 million (170,000,000) pieces out there. Earthlings litter!)

“What is dark matter made of?” (Dark matter makes up 80% of the mass in the Universe but we have no clue what it is!)

Students hung on every word as Dr. Clarke answered these and many other questions during her visit. They were also thrilled when she gave each child a set of Astronomy cards and each a beautiful NASA posters. Thank you to Dr. Tracy Clarke for sharing her knowledge with our third grade astronomers!