The unique STEM hobby that can turn into a career – astronomy

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(WTNH) — A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the world of Battlebots. Now, we’re taking you high into the atmosphere and out of this world. Or, at least 950 feet high to the Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy.

Last month, the world watched as Perseverance Rover landed on Mars.  Since then, NASA has been able to view almost 10,000 new images of the red planet.  The purpose of Perseverance is to search for signs of microbial life by drilling and collecting core samples from the rock and soil.

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Jonathan Craig said, “I think the primary question is — are there other forms of life in the solar system or in the universe?  And we’re always looking at, are we here as a unique species on a planet and we’re the only major intelligent form, or are we just one of many in the universe?  This will answer questions about whether life could’ve formed elsewhere.”

This new exploration into the unknown might have inspired future astronomers and stargazers. Morgan Kidd has dreams of becoming an astronaut someday.  She hopes the Perseverance landing will lead to the discovery of life on the red planet.

“Space is kind of beautiful with all the nebulas,” Morgan Kidd said. “I’m kind of hoping they find life because then it would be on a new level.”

While some of her classmates share the desire to explore space, they don’t agree with disrupting other precious planets with rovers or even future colonies.

“If we find a certain life form, then I agree, we should take the rovers away, because in some way, we might be harming them,” Ashton Beckett.

Owen Higgins adds, “If we go to another planet, I feel we shouldn’t actually make it our home.  If we want to go to other planets, sure you can create a base where we can do communication…”

“Space and astronomy are all part of a larger area of science. You apply all the same principles whether you’re going out into space or whether it’s here on Earth,” Craig said.

Well back here on Earth, these kids at the Talcott Mountain Observatory have learned a lot about space, geology, and biology from hands-on experiments and experiences.

“Science is fun! We teach kids by teaching them how to learn from doing.  They do the real experiments, they find the samples, they test them,  and they come up with solutions on their own.  We tend to use tests to see how much kids know and that’s not a way of testing knowledge.  Knowledge is based upon how you apply it, and we like to see the kids apply knowledge,” Craig said.

And one of the most important lessons – being taught how to think, not what to think. If you have an interest in space and astronomy, you can check out one of the local planetariums or observatories in our state. There are also several astronomy clubs you can find here and here.

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