Exclusive NASA exhibit unveiled in Norfolk

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Discover NASA
As part of a preview Friday, a group of homeschooled students received a private tour and the privilege of test-driving the interactive components of the exhibit. (Mariah Pohl/Southside Daily)

Norfolk’s Slover Library is one of six libraries nationwide selected to host Discover NASA: From Our Town to Outer Space, an 800-square-foot traveling exhibition aimed at promoting interest in space and technology among young people by sharing NASA’s missions, challenges, and achievements.

The exhibit will tour across the United States for three years as part of a pilot education program spearheaded by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning in Boulder, Colo.

Open from Nov. 5 through Jan. 14, the multi-floor exhibit features interactive activities and multimedia experiences, like stargazing, spaceship building, views from space, 3D printer demonstrations, a wind tunnel and more. All aspects of NASA are covered in this exhibition, with a focus on educating visitors on the subject of aeronautics and the diverse groups of people involved with NASA, from engineers and computer scientists, to biologists and meteorologists.

Grant writers Timothy Werner and Nicole Steele explain the importance of learning about science and technology. (Mariah Pohl/Southside Daily)
Grant writers Timothy Werner and Nicole Steele discuss how the Discover NASA exhibit came about and explain the importance of learning about science and technology. (Mariah Pohl/Southside Daily)

The library obtained the exhibit through a competitive grant written by senior microcomputer system analyst Timothy Werner and library associate Nicole Steele, who oversees many of the library’s teen activities.

“We are really excited to be able to showcase how amazing space science can be to local children,” said Werner. “The high-tech games make learning about science and technology fun. We need to get kids interested more in space and science.”

Werner said obtaining the exhibit was a longterm project for the library.

“We wrote the grant more than a year ago, in August 2015,” he said. “Slover Library is designed to be one of the most high-tech libraries in the country, and nothing says high-tech like NASA.”

As part of the exhibit’s grand opening, the library will host a kick-off celebration called SpaceFest on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hampton Roads already has a unique connection to NASA through the Langley Research Center, the nation’s first national civil aeronautics laboratory and one of the oldest of NASA’s field centers.

To learn more about the Discover NASA exhibit visit http://www.sloverlibrary.com/nasa/ or call  757-664-7323.