Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day 2018

Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day 2018

Gemini Observatory joined the local community on January 27th for a day of celebration and science at the annual Onizuka Science Day event at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Ellison Onizuka Science Day serves to honor the legacy of Hawaiiʻs first astronaut and the crew of the Space Shuttle, Challenger. This year marks the 32nd anniversry of the NASA Challenger disaster that took the lives of all seven crew members. Onizuka Science Day seeks to spread Onizukaʻs passion for scientific exploration, and to inspire young minds to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Gemini was just one of the many organizations promoting scientific research and discovery that day.

Throughout the event, families visited interactive displays and participated in workshops to broaden their understanding of science and astronomy. During the opening general assembly, astronaut Jack Fischer shared his experiences on the International Space Station and the importance of  interdisciplinary projects and experiments conducted in space.

Gemini staff, including astronomers, Information and Technology Services (ITS) staff, and the Public Information and Outreach (PIO) team, led workshops, crafted “Gemini Cubes,” passed out Legacy Images, and took pictures of families in our photo booth. Our volunteers also taught visitors about different celestial objects and inspired students to join our diverse workforce.

PIO intern Hannah Blomgren walks a student through folding a Gemini Cube.

Posing in the Gemini photo booth!
From left to right: Christine Copes (Gemini), Mimi Fuchs (Submillimeter Array), Janice Harvey (Gemini), Alexis Acohido (Gemini), Meg Schwamb (Gemini), and Hannah Blomgren (Gemini).

Computer Science Without Computers Workshop

Gemini Information Systems Engineer Jerry Brower led an interactive workshop that introduced computer science without using computers! The workshop began with an activity in which students were bits, switching on and off, to illustrate counting in binary. This opened up discussion about creating messages and demonstrating how modems send information. Students also learned about image storage, data sorting, and encryption.

Students “bubble sorted” themselves on a mat, demonstrating one way computers organize data.

PIO intern Jasmin Silva (far left) and Information Systems Engineer Jerry Brower (far right) teach students how to be bits.

– Hannah Blomgren and Jasmin Silva

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