Posted on: Tue, 07/23/2019 - 09:00

With the incredible advances in technology, are we losing our ability to be amazed?

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the moon, the FCPS Earth and Space Science Lab (ESSL) hosted Apollo-palooza! It was a wonderful day for families to watch a model rocket launch, see a show about Apollo 11 in the Ausherman Planetarium, look through the telescope in the Natelli Observatory, hear a NASA scientist speak, and enjoy the many exhibits in the ESSL. The excitement was palpable, and I hope future scientists were inspired.

It was also a day for reflection. I remember July 20, 1969. I sat in front of our television with my mom and tried to grasp what was happening. A man was stepping onto the moon! I was amazed. Amazed and so proud of what our country had achieved. But mostly, I was amazed that people could accomplish such an unbelievable feat.

On July 20, 2019, I was looking through the telescope in the Natelli Observatory and seeing the sun. The volunteer told me that it was not the best time to view the sun because there were no sun spots visible and the flares were rather small. I replied, “But I am looking at the sun and that’s amazing.” When I found the small flares, he explained that they were about half the size of earth. Now that is hard to imagine. As we chatted more, he told me about the many students who visit the observatory and how they react when they see the sun. He recounted that some students get excited, but many others are unimpressed. I guess, with so many images from space being shared through a variety of media, that view from the telescope is less than amazing.

I know we can instill a sense of wonder in our children through science and the kinds of experiences they can find at the ESSL. I trust that their curiosity is aroused and their desire to learn ignited. I hope they find a passion that enables them to pursue a goal that will amaze the world. That’s what the Apollo 11 team did in 1969. I wish the same for our students--to be amazed and be amazing!