The Sally Ride Science Festival on March 1, 2008 was well attended. Under a bright, warm sun, hundreds of local school girls with parents, siblings, friends and teachers in tow explored the exhibits and displays, took in Sally Ride’s lecture and went off to workshops in the afternoon. Not for the faint of heart, some of the workshops had titles such as “Properties of Light, Gases & Vacuum and Heat Transfer & Cryogenics”, “Exploding Stars”, “Extreme Astronomy: Monstrous Black Holes and Spectacular Supernovae” and “Stem Cells”.
The National Space Society of Phoenix, along with the Moon Society, the Mars Society and the Planetary Society all contributed to the buzz, chatter, questions and answers. We passed out back issues of Ad Astra along with student membership applications for NSS, talked with the girls and their parents, and answered questions about the Moon and Mars and space exploration.
Perhaps the largest draw was Menkes van den Briel’s “How High Can You Jump on Mars”? Using a standing jump tape measure device, the girls jumped and then translated the height of the jump on Earth into height on Mars, the Moon and the moons of Mars. A twelve inch jump on Earth becomes thirty two inches on Mars. The best jump of the day was equal to five feet three inches on Mars. The exhibit was packed for several hours, right up until the announcement of Sally Ride’s lecture.