March 15, 1996 in City

Kids Scope Out Hubble, Live TV

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer
 

The outer reaches of the solar system zoomed closer Thursday for 10 children from Nespelem and Mead, Wash.

From a Spokane television studio, the students questioned astronomers and saw space-telescope images of three planets during an electronic field trip.

The kids were on camera for “Live from the Hubble Space Telescope,” an educational program broadcast to classrooms around the world.

Students looked at new pictures of Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter at the same moment astronomers clicked them onto a computer screen at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

Back in 1990, when some of the students were in kindergarten, Hubble became a laughingstock when NASA discovered a warped mirror was distorting the images it sent back to Earth. Space-walking shuttle astronauts repaired its near-sightedness in 1993 with something like a contact lens.

Since then, Hubble’s clear pictures of distant galaxies, black holes and planetary weather systems have delighted scientists.

Having studied the school-bus-size telescope all year with their teacher Sheri Edwards, the Nespelem students were on a first-name basis with it.

“When you’re sitting here it makes you think about what Hubble is doing up there,” said Brandon George, 12, of Nespelem.

Students from Germany, England, Greece, Ukraine, Japan and the United States had voted by electronic mail on which planets they wanted Hubble to target for the television project.

The broadcast, produced by a New Jersey company with cooperation from NASA, went smoothly by live television standards.

TV producers somewhere in Maryland decided to dump some of the Spokane questions because of lack of time. And the students in Spokane could barely hear the answers to what they did ask because of a bad telephone line.

“Look like you’re listening,” advised Spokane host Dave Howe. “If they cut back to you, just smile and nod.”

Ten-year-old Ryan Marchand of Nespelem said he learned more about live television than he did about space.

“You can get skipped a few times,” Ryan said.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WEB SITE More information about the Hubble Space Telescope electronic field trip is available on-line at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ livefrom.hst.html

This sidebar appeared with the story: WEB SITE More information about the Hubble Space Telescope electronic field trip is available on-line at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ livefrom.hst.html


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