Hi educational travelers!

I’m back with another post from one of our guest writers, Jeff Stabins. I hope you enjoy what he has to share with you.

There is probably no more beautiful time for educators to take their students on a trip to our nation’s capital than in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and summer’s heat and humidity are still months away. This spring, educational opportunities abound for young student travelers to Washington especially at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum.

An exhibit commemorating fifty years of extra-vehicular activity (EVA) outside the spacecraft is currently a popular destination for tourists, and locals alike, as there are over thousands of pieces of space art, space suits and other equipment assembled on the second floor of the building.  American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to perform an EVA on the lunar surface and Gene Cernan, mission commander of Apollo 17, spent more time walking on the Moon and outside his aircraft than anyone else.  Both of their spacesuits and accessories are part of the fascinating exhibit. The original items used during space travel always fascinate Washington, DC student tour participants.

In addition, Armstrong’s widow recently discovered over a dozen items hidden in a closet for more than forty years, which NASA believed had been left behind on the moon in 1969.  Apparently, America’s greatest hero astronaut was a bit of a pack rat.  The camera used to record Neil’s famous “one small step for man…” speech and various tools were collected in a white cloth bag and found by Carol Armstrong after Neil’s death in 2012. She graciously donated the priceless collection to the Smithsonian, and it has been added to the exhibit.

The first untethered spacewalk was made by American Bruce McCandless outside the space shuttle Challenger, just two years before its tragic destruction after liftoff.  The longest EVA was for just under nine hours in 2001 by astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss. You could spend hours of educationally rewarding time visiting the museum’s meticulously preserved relics.

If space, the final frontier, holds as much interest for you as it did for the fictional crew of the USS Enterprise, then now is a great time to join an educational tour to Washington, DC’s Air and Space Museum.

Until next time,