Monday, October 18, 2010

"Why Me?" - Where Camilla's Friends meet Friends of Camilla!

Welcome to "Why Me?" - a weekly special I am starting today. Over the past few weeks I have introduced you to many people in front and behind the curtains here at NASA. From Astronauts, to Mission Control Operators, to Rocket Scientists, Engineers and others within this organization. And there are thousands more... The goal now is to introduce you to each other. Who knows, maybe you choose to connect with each other because we all share a similar passion; Space (and the love for this rubber chick!).

Why do I call this segment "Why Me?"? It has a couple of meanings to me. I chose it because you are all special and you are all a very valuable and important part in what I do. I want to highlight that and introduce you to my circle. But the "Why Me?" also addresses why are you following a mission mascot, who let's face it, is really a rubber chicken? I want to explore these "Why-s" some more. And perhaps you ask yourself "Why did Camilla chose Me?" - the answer is easy. You are part of what I call Education and Public Outreach. By following me, NASA Little SDO or any other NASA (or ESA) mission, center or person, you are participating in Education. And many of you share pictures, videos and stories we post on via Facebook, Twitter or your own blog - and you become part of the Public Outreach too.

And finally, you will see that these outreach activities reach all kinds of people. Some work on a space mission, others are part of the educational system, and there are even some who didn't have any interest in Space, until this Camilla Corona came along. No matter who, where, and what - we should all enjoy the wonders of the Universe, learn more about Space and continue our quest for finding answers to the question "Why"! So, let's get this "Why Me?" rolling with...

Friends, meet Cynthia Coer Butcher!

When you are not enjoying Social Media, what do you do as a profession?
I am a Work at home Mom and Costume Designer to Camilla Corona.
Cynthia's "Camilla's Dream" quilt for the Dream Rocket Project.

What has made space exploration such an interesting subject for you?
My interest in space exploration began when I was a kid. The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was the 1964 cult classic, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." I wanted to save Santa and play with Martian children. Then TV came to our house and I was all about "The Jetsons" and "Lost In Space." However, watching the Apollo space missions and the first moon landing was beyond anything science fiction had to offer. I thought ahead to my own future, calculating how old I would be in the year 2000, and dreaded that at age 40 I would be ANCIENT and may not live long enough to fly in cars around the city or live on a moon base.

In your opinion what are the 3 most amazing achievements/results of space exploration?
Three most amazing achievements:
a) that we can send people to the moon and get them back safely.
b) the Hubble Space Telescope and it's awesome and inspiring visions of our universe.
c) is a toss up. The Voyager Mission is beyond amazing. To think that a spacecraft built on Earth 33 years ago can still transmit information about the outer reaches of our solar system while carrying information about us into interstellar space for other civilizations is mind boggling. The other cool mission is the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. A very tricked pair of toys land on Mars, doesn't find little green men but sends back data and images that may someday help us set up colonies is the stuff of dreams and science reality. I am truly humbled by the collaborative genius that makes all space exploration possible.

Is there a current mission (or missions) you follow regularly? If so, what mission(s)?
Currently I follow SDO. Without our sun there would be no life. It's about time we better understood it's function and capabilities to not only enhance life, but to destroy life as we know it.

Why are you friends of this Not-Every-Day-Run-Of-The-Mill rubber chicken?
I follow a rubber chicken mission mascot because I'm not a child any more, but the child in me wants to share the wonder and imagination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with my own children and grandchildren. Camilla has helped me introduce STEM to my youngest daughters, giving at least one of them dreams of living as a scientist on a moon colony with her mom when she grows up. Having surpasses that 40th birthday in tact, I can also hope for the possibilities of future space missions and hope that my daughters have a bit of input in making them a reality.

What is your advice to today's youth?
 My advice to today's youth is to question everything. There's a theoretical question adults often ask, "If you could meet God, what would you ask him/Her?" Many adults get caught up in the why of everything. They want to know why bad things happen, why they didn't get something they prayed about, why someone they loved had to leave them. The "whys" of life never interested me. I just figured stuff happened to everyone, it's part of life. The question I would ask is "HOW?" How did the universe begin? How was life created? How do we get along with each other? How does matter react inside a black hole? How do diseases function at the cellular level and how does that teach us how to cure or prevent them? How do we use technology without destroying the resources needed to create them and thereby irrevocably damaging our Earth in the process? Keep asking these questions and more because I know that some of you out there are going to find the answers. 

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