The Mercury 13

On June 16, 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space—during the Vostok 6 mission. It was 20 years later (almost to the day) that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space—as a crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 on June 18, 1983.

In Martha Ackmann’s The Mercury 13, we are introduced to 13 women who should have been among the first in space. They included Jerrie Cobb, Wally Funk, Myrtle Cagle, and Bernice "B" Steadman, who were some of the most accomplished pilots of their time, male or female. These women passed the same rigorous tests (in 1961) that the original Mercury 7 astronauts underwent in the late 1950s. The women's testing program was eventually scrapped and women astronaut candidates weren’t selected by NASA until the 1978 class of Space Shuttle astronauts.

To find more books on women astronauts click here.

22 Hours and Counting

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NASA Astronaut Sunita L. Williams set a record Sunday for most total time spacewalking by a woman. Her record is 22 hours and 27 minutes but she has another spacewalk scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8th. Future woman astronauts can launch their career by attending a Sally Ride Science Festival. Details of the University of Michigan festival are still in the works but plan on one for Fall, 2007.

Science Fair Resource Open House

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Stumped for ideas? Don't know if your idea will fly? Join us for an informational open house! Librarians will be on hand to assist you with our collections, show you resources you didn't know we had, and offer guidance on what's on the web that would be helpful. Dan Ezekiel and Maureen Michael, AAPS Science Teachers, will be on hand to talk about your project and give advice. See you on Monday, Jan. 29 from 6:30-8:30 at the Downtown Library in the Youth Department.

To the Moon!

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NASA plans to return to the moon by 2020 and hopes to build a moon base by 2024. While you are waiting for the Ares I & V to launch, take a look back at other trips to the moon: Project Apollo and Méliès.

From the Earth to the Moon a superbly done HBO series, produced by Tom Hanks, and based on the book A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin, takes you through the entire Apollo program.

Moon Shot: the inside story of America's race to the moon by astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton.

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen.

Méliès the magician contains the 1902 "La Voyage dans la lune" along with other films by Méliès.

Curious About Climate: Why Weather Works!

Register on this snowy day to learn how weather works! Join the library and the UM Exhibit Museum of Natural History this month in the first Family Science Workshop of the series. Learn about past climates by analyzing petrified tree rings, explore the differences in weather around the world, and discover why global warming is happening.

Children must be between ages 6-11 and attend the program with an adult. Register at the location you would like to attend.

Pittsfield: Wednesday. January 24, 4-5 PM
Malletts Creek: Saturday, January 27, 10-11 PM
Northeast: Saturday, January 27, 2-3 PM

FAMILY SCIENCE WORKSHOPS

Make it a family event! Register to attend science workshops as a family and learn about the wonders of weather. Answer the questions: Why is weather different all over the world? What does thunder happen after lightning? How do meteorologists predict the weather? Call and register at the branch you would like to attend the workshop. Registration starts two weeks before the workshop and the program is for children ages 6-11.

Curious About Climate: Why Weather Works!
Pittsfield Wednesday, Jan. 24, 4-5 PM
Malletts Creek Saturday, Jan. 27, 10-11 AM
Northeast Saturday, Jan. 27, 2-3 PM

Stormy Surprises: When Weather Goes Wild!
Pittsfield Wednesday, Feb. 21, 4-5 PM
Malletts Creek Saturday, Feb. 24, 10-11 AM
Northeast Saturday, Feb. 24, 2-3 PM

Backyard Meteorology: Forecasting the Future
Pittsfield Wednesday, Mar. 28, 4-5 PM
Malletts Creek Saturday, Mar. 31, 10-11 AM
Northeast Saturday, Mar. 31, 2-3 PM

There is a Santa Claus…

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Apollo 8, Launched on December 21, 1968, was the first manned mission to leave Earth orbit and head for the moon. After ten lunar orbits it was time to go home. To get back on the right path, the crew had to perform the Trans-Earth Injection burn while on the far side and out of radio contact with NASA. Everything went as planned, and when radio contact was restored (at the precise time calculated by NASA engineers) this was the transmission:

Apollo 8: Houston, Apollo 8. Over.
Mission Control: Hello, Apollo 8. Loud and clear.
Apollo 8: Please be informed there is a Santa Claus.
Mission Control: That's affirmative. You're the best ones to know.

It was December 25.

If NASA’s authority isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker website. They’ve been tracking the jolly old elf since 1955 using state of the art radar equipment.

“The Big Freeze”

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Discover the science of cold at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum December 26 through December 31. Make ice cream, try on blubber gloves and watch liquid nitrogen demonstrations (12, 2, and 4 PM), as well as enjoy other games and activities. All activities are free with museum admission.

Also check out these special days:
Dec. 27 Artic Artifacts (1 and 3 PM)
Experience Artic culture while viewing artifacts from the Toledo Zoo

Dec. 28 Cold Blooded Encounters (1-3 PM)
See live reptiles you can touch with Brian Cressman

Dec. 31 IceScapes (1-3 PM)
Free ice cream treats from IceScapes

Whitefish Wipeout Worries

Anyone who’s spent even one weekend Up North knows that whitefish is the mainstay of lakeshore restaurants. A Great Lakes Radio Consortium story warns that our beloved whitefish are threatened by an invasion of Quaggas who are eating the whitefish’s favorite food, diporeia. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is researching the invasion and what we can do to assure the whitefish maintains its hallowed status on Michigan menus.

Ever wondered . . .

how a jet's black box works, how a skin graft is grown, or how a pet translator interprets the mood of your dog or cat? Take a look at Cool Stuff and How it Works. This full color picture book uses advanced imaging technology such as X rays, scanning electron micrographs, and infrared thermograms, along with traditional graphics, to reveal the workings of all this and more. A feast for the eye and brain!

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