CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)–Dozens of St. Michael’s School had their questions answered about the moon through St. Francis University’s new NASA Anchor: Earth to Moon exhibit.
This interactive experience takes students and families through the discoveries and uncovered mysteries of space. It features a planetarium, 3-D models of the moon’s surface, and other learning materials and hands-on activities.
This idea came across the university a year and a half ago when Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. Lanika Ruzhitskaya came upon a NASA grant for community outreach projects. She then thought of teaching families more about the solar system and its connection to us.
From there, the university utilized the resources of its planetarium, rocks, and labs to create a mini-museum within its science center. Wednesday marked the soft opening of the displays.
The planetarium allowed students to watch a movie about the history of human exploration of the moon. Then students learned about the moon’s features and survival on the moon. Lastly, they explored rocks from the Earth’s surface.
However, under this concept, they can change the displays depending on the school’s wishes. Dr. Ruzhitskaya said they wanted to start this concept in a smaller location before branching out to other locations.
While Wednesday’s display was only for students, the public is welcome to attend other events. Dr. Ruzhitskaya said she hopes when children and families leave their events they’re interested in taking adventures to the moon one day.
“I hope they’ll be interested. I hope they think when they look at the sky, they won’t think ‘oh, what a waste of money,’ but they’ll think about this is us,” Ruzhitskaya said. “This is our exploration. This is our home. The moon is not that far away. So I hope they’ll get out of it interest in the moon.”
The exhibit plans to stop in the Claysburg school area sometime in February.