A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walking on the Craters of the Moon

Most of you know that my dream was to be the first dog on the space shuttle.  Now that the space shuttles are retired, I thought that I would never make it into outer space.

Well, today I almost did…  I walked on the craters of the moon!  And we did it right here on earth!

We visited one of the strangest places.  It is called Craters of the Moon National Monument.  It is located in the Pioneer Mountains in Idaho.

 This strange place is full of lava flows.  It has high towers called monoliths.  It has globs of lava that hardened into cones.

It all happened during the “Great Rift.”  About 15,000 years ago, a volcano erupted here.  Some of the volcanic activity happened only 2,000 years ago.  It made an ocean of lava rock that looks like the craters of the moon.

In fact, it looks so much like the surface of the moon, astronauts trained here years ago.  They came here to learn about volcanic geology before the Apollo missions.

If you would like to learn more about Craters of the Moon National Monument, just click here:

If you would like to be a Junior Geo-Ranger for Craters of the Moon, just click here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're On Vacation!!!

It was hot in Oklahoma.  It was hot in Missouri.  It was REALLY hot in Kansas.  It was hot Colorado. 

Now we are in Idaho.  It is cool enough for Mom to wear her sweatshirt!  

Best of all, I got to go on my first swim.  We are VERY happy girls!

On the Road Again!

Dear Friends,

My family and I are traveling again.  We are going back to Canada and Alaska! 

I will try to keep posting every week.  Sometimes it is hard to find an internet connection while we are on the road, but I will keep trying.   

We want to tell you about the animals that we see.  We want to tell you about our wonderful adventures.  We want you to join us on our trip!

So far, we have been camping in very hot weather.  Yesterday, it was 102 degrees at our campsite in Kansas.  Mom and Dad hosed me down with water to help keep me cool.  At least it turned cooler when the sun went down.

Today we are in Colorado.  It is a little cooler here, but not much.  We have friends here to visit.

Next, we will drive to Washington State.  It is suppose to be VERY cool there!  I can’t wait!

Until next time!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Did We Learn from the Shuttle Missions?

Did we learn anything from the shuttle missions?  Some people ask if the money  spent on the shuttle program was worth it.

The shuttle program helped us learn many things about space travel.  It helped us build the international space station.  It has helped us learn more about our planet and universe.

Many people don’t know that America's space program has also changed our world for the better.  Because of our space program, we have learned many new things. 

Scientists have used this new information to make America's space program better.  They have also used many of these discoveries for earth.  These new discoveries are called NASA SPIN OFFS.

NASA spin offs have made our world better.  Some have made our lives more fun.  Some have made us safer.  Some have helped make people we love healthy again.  Below are just a few spin offs:
   ·   Special fire fighting suits to keep our fire fighters safer
   ·   Satellite television
   ·   Smoke detectors
   ·   Helmets to protect us when riding bikes
   ·   Invisible braces to help straighten teeth
   ·   Medical tools to help doctors know when someone is sick

If you would like to learn more about NASA spin offs, please check out these sites:
Here’s a fun online NASA game to play.  It is called Search for Spin Offs:  http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/kidsclub/flash/games/levelfour/KC_Spinoffs_Hidden_Pictures.html

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why We Explore

The last shuttle flight landing.  Photo courtesy NASA.
Today Atlantis landed safely.  It landed by dawn’s early light.  Isn’t this picture beautiful?

I am sad.  This was the last flight of the shuttle spacecrafts.  The shuttles were the first crafts to go into space, come back to earth, and launch again.

For thirty years, the shuttles flew.  They carried pieces and parts to build the international space station.  The astronauts who flew on the shuttles repaired satellites like the Hubble Telescope.  They conducted many experiments that have helped humans on earth. 

Some people wonder why we explore in space. 

Some people think that it costs too much money.  Some people think that it is too dangerous.

So why do we explore space? 

People are curious.  They want to learn and see new things.  They want to learn more about our wonderful universe.  They want to learn more about our beautiful earth.  They want to make our planet and our people safer.

We have found some wonderful information for you.  We hope that you will read it so that you can decide if we should keep traveling in space. 

I know that I think that we should!   

Check out this game on NASA Kid's to find out why we explore:  http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/kidsclub/flash/clubhouse/Why_Do_We_Explore.html

Here are two more sites with good information about why we explore:  

This is an activity book about launching to the moon and beyond:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Star-spangled Banner in Space

Atlantis STS-135 crew with International Space Station astronauts.  They are holding the flag that flew on STS-001 in 1981.  Photo courtesy NASA.

The Atlantis shuttle astronauts gave the crew of the International Space Station a very special gift today.  They gave them a very special American flag.

This flag flew aboard the very first shuttle flight.  It flew aboard mission STS-001, on shuttle Columbia in 1981.  Atlantis is the last shuttle mission, STS-135.

The astronauts will keep this special American flag on the International Space Station.  Hopefully, they will give it away again one day soon.  They have been asked to give it to the next astronauts that launch from the United States.

When Atlantis lands, we will have no more shuttle flights.  America will have no spacecraft to launch into space.  Let's hope that we fly again VERY SOON!

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
(Words to the U.S. national anthem)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Last Shuttle Launch

Atlantis' last launch.  Photo courtesy of NASA.
Space Shuttle Atlantis launched today.  It will be its last flight.  It will also be the last launch of the space shuttles.  In many ways, it is a wonderful day.  For many, it is also a very sad day.

It is a wonderful day because it was a successful launch.  Atlantis has flown for 25 years.  It has flown over 115 million miles.

Atlantis launched the Magellan spacecraft to planet Mars.  Atlantis sent the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter.  Last year, Atlantis made the final flight to the Hubble Telescope to make upgrades.  On this trip, Atlantis brings a new Russian-made research laboratory to the international space station.

It is also a sad day because it is the end of America's manned space program.  In my home of Houston and also Florida, many of the people who worked on the shuttle program will lose their jobs.  For the first time in fifty years, America will not be able to send astronauts into space.

Thank you to all of the brave and creative people who worked on the shuttle program.  Each of you had a part in something amazing.  Each of you had a part in helping us to learn more about our remarkable earth and our awesome universe. 

If you would like to watch the last shuttle launch, just click here:

If you would like to learn more about the last shuttle launch and about the shuttle program, just click one of the links below:

This is a great poster about Atlantis' missions:  http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/488843main_2atlantis_full_full.jpg

Click here to learn about the last shuttle mission:  http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/pdf/565676main_sts135mission.pdf

Here's a chart that tells about every shuttle mission:  http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/537939main_063011Shuttle-Wall-Chart.pdf

Here's a fun game to learn how to load the shuttle:  http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/227841main_Load_the_Shuttle.pdf