Lights, Camera, Blast-Off: Kids Explore Space with NASA

Space Camp, Space Buddies, Star Wars, Star Trek, Wall-E, and more recently Mars Needs Moms. Kids have always been fascinated with space-related movies. They have seen astronauts and robots in "reel life," but how often do they get an opportunity to meet them in real life? On August 17, 2011, the dream world of hundreds of kids connected with the real world at NASA's What's Your Favorite Space event, held at the Eventi Hotel in New York City, NY.

The one-day event, an effort by NASA to inspire kids in engineering and space and learn what NASA does besides the space shuttle, featured demos, videos, interactive exhibits, 3-D virtual experiences, and hands-on activities exploring the final frontier. "We wanted the event to focus not only on what NASA is doing next [after the space shuttle program], but also to inspire the next generation to participate in what NASA is doing next," said Sheri Beam of NASA's Langley Research Center, Langley, VA.

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Robots in Action

Besides the outer space experience, kids got a first-hand experience controlling MindStorm robots to pick up small objects from the ground. NYU Polytechnic also had an iPhone-controlled robot rolling around, which grabbed the attention of several girls and boys, who tried maneuvering the minibot's robotic arm using an iPhone to pick up a plastic cup from the ground.

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