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The Educational, Musical “Beautiful Earth” Returns to Goddard

June 5, 2014
Image Caption: Kenji Williams, director and composer and co-investigator for Beautiful Earth, performs BELLA GAIA Live.

Angel Mills, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Students will explore the relationship between human civilization and our ecosystem through time and space in an event called “Beautiful Earth” that combines music, amazing satellite imagery and visualizations.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is hosting the agency’s Beautiful Earth interactive program for the first time in two years. The three-year-old program partners with multimedia performance group Bella Gaia and NASA scientists to teach students about space through music and science presentations. Composer Kenji Williams created Bella Gaia to inspire people and give them a glimpse into the rare vantage point that astronauts have when they are in space.

Beautiful Earth Principal Investigator Valerie Casasanto identified the program as a science, technology, engineering, arts, and math or STEAM initiative. “We’re to show concepts without “teaching,” she said. Multimedia and live music including gorgeous visualizations from Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio of Earth from space, provide a different view of our Planet Earth.

The program uses art, science, and hands on experiments to inspire and engage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and NASA Earth Science (or Earth studies or something like that), Casasanto said. Surveys from teachers and students before and after Beautiful Earth indicate that students have more interest in STEM after participating in the program.

This year’s program coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Aura. Aura was launched in 2004 to monitor Earth’s climate, ozone and air quality. Aura Deputy Project Scientist Bryan Duncan is speaking to middle school students about the mission with a “Science on a Sphere” video presentation. Bella Gaia vocalist Kristin Hoffman also performs live in front of a backdrop of streaming NASA visualizations. Students build satellites, color the ozone holes, and build air-monitoring systems with kits designed by modular electronics creator littleBits.

About 140 middle school students, parents and teachers will attend the program at the Goddard Visitor Center on June 5 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT.

To learn more about Beautiful Earth, contact Valerie Casasanto at valerie.a.casasanto@nasa.gov at 301-286-6605.

For more information about Beautiful Earth, visit: http://beautifulearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/


Source: Angel Mills, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



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