After the first two adventures aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory ( Comet Halley and Supernova 1987a), it was time to give classroom teachers the chance to experience the excitement of high altitude astronomy first hand. Through the efforts of many NASA officials, including Shelley Canright of Langley Research Center and KAO Director Louis Hauney, approval was given for the first time for teachers to be trained for missions aboard the KAO.
The CAN DO teachers pose beside the C141 KAO before making the first ever flights of teachers into the stratosphere
|The teachers had to keep accurate logs of all images in order to properly identify them after the flight. They had spent many hours studying astronomy and photography in order to prepare.|
|The series of flights concentrated on targets along the Milky Way giving the teachers many opportunities to get spectacular images like this. (Click on image for much larger version)|
|Nancy Parson is shown using the communication headset required by the high noise level inside the aircraft. Communications and safety procedures were taught by the KAO Staff because of the hazardous nature of stratospheric flight.|
|Another popular target was the nebulae (clouds of gas) surrounding exploding stars such as Eta Carinae. (Click on image for much larger version)|
Because of the pioneering effort of these first six CAN DO Teachers other teachers also got to experience the unique challenge of airborne astronomy. Other CAN DO teachers flew aboard the KAO from Melbourne Australia to study the collision of Comet Shoemaker Levy 9 with Jupiter. Teachers from other school district were given the opportunity through the very successful FOSTER Program sponsored by Ames Research Center.