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Boardman students names will be aboard the Parker Space Probe

May 30, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Boardman Center Intermediate fifth graders in Megan Turillo's class are joining the exciting history-making voyage of the Parker Solar Space Probe as it gets set to launch this July, with Boardman students' names aboard.

"The best part about how our class got involved with The Parker Space Probe was at the hands of my student, Sarah Rizvi," said Turillo. "I love space science and have been following the upcoming launch, but it was Sarah who sent me the information and the link to send our names to the sun. Sometimes, the very best ideas come from my students."

She said the names (1.1 million), are installed on a memory card. This memory card was placed aboard the probe and will make the seven-year journey towards the sun. It is placed on the plaque that bears the name Eugene Parker, NASA's only living person of which a mission was named.

Article Photos

5th grade Center Intermediate students Sarah Rizvi, Sabrina Horvath, Katalina Cohn, and Kaylee Dennis with their 'tickets to the sun.'

The window of time to submit the names was only seven and one half weeks. The Tickets were 100 percent free and serve as a memento for submitting a name and being part of this historic event.

"If my students did not have a printer at home, they had permission to send me the link and I printed their ticket for them," Turillo said.

The ticket is a fun little extra, she said. Once students register their names through NASA, they are good to go. The names then automatically goes on the memory card once the information is verified. The tickets were created by NASA.

The Parker Solar Space Probe will launch this July. It will make a seven year journey toward the sun, and will come within 3,000,000 miles of the it, which is the closest journey any space vehicle has ever made. The probe will come to within 3.9 millions miles from the sun, which is closer than any other craft has flown. Turillo said it is because NASA has developed a 4.5-inch thick carbon composite shield that can withstand 500 times the sun's radiation. The mission of the probe is to study solar winds and the sun's carona to determin the impact it has on Earth.

"The Tickets are a unique way to generate more interest in this space mission for my students," said Turillo. "We do many fun things to relate to the solar system, but this is the first time that includes a ticket to the sun."

Of Turillo's 83 students at Boardman Center Intermediate School, 52 had printed tickets right away. From the class event, the information was passe on and staff and family members also printed tickets to have their names added. When all was said and done, 138 students, staff and family members submitted their names to be placed on the Parker Solar memory card.

Turillo said all the students involved with this project are fifth graders. That means when the Parker Solar Probe reaches it destination in seven years, those students will all be seniors. She said with today's technology, she does plan to keep in touch.

"With the use of Chromebooks, and especially Google Docs, we can 100-percent continue to communicate and share information with one another about the Parker Solar Probe through the next seven years," she said. "This experience is something that has bonded us and will continue to do so. As their knowledge base grows, our discussions can become even deeper and more meaningful. It is a SUPERIOR way to keep kids, especially girls, interested in Science. It literally will be like we are along for the ride. We will continue to all learn as we go. We can even pick up more "passengers" during this seven-year journey, but keeping in mind who the original 83 crew members really are."

Turillo said she would love to have a viewing party with the seniors and discuss NASA's objectives and the data that was collected..

When Turillo's students first got involved in the ticket to the sun project, the entire class was firing questions right and left about the Probe, its origin and mission.

"I was just beside myself with excitement as a Science teacher and as a fellow Space enthusiast," Turillo said. "I allowed the students time to google the answers to any questions they had about this very unique and important mission. It really was the hottest ticket in town!"



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