On May 16, 2016 I had the pleasure of visiting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. This Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum holds a dear space in my heart – it is because of this museum that Astronaut Abby was created. I was working on a school project for National History Day, determined to win the state competition and make it to the national competition in Washington D.C. While that was a noble pursuit, my real goal was to win the free trip to D.C. so I could go see the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
What set out as a goal to get to Washington D.C. ended up being a journey that has changed my life and affected the lives of so many other people. I never made it to D.C. back in 8th grade (2011) but I did make it to see astronauts launch to the space station both in Florida and Kazakhstan, visit space museums around the world, visit NASA centers around the United states, meet astronauts and scientists, visits space companies and scientific labs. Finally, in 2016 I made it full circle to Washington D.C. and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum!
I was very fortunate to receive a warm welcome at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They had heard about my journey and how they played a pivotal role in creating AstronautAbby.com and TheMarsGeneration.org and made my visit very special. I even received a private tour from Dr. Paul Ceruzzi, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum curator. During my tour I had a chance to view sunspots in the observatory, meet students who work at the museum and even see a few iconic space history vehicles such as a lunar lander and the first Apollo capsule to land on the moon.
A fun addition was getting to be part of the STEM In 30 program produced by the museum and sent out to middle schools around the country. This was a fun show to be a part of. I love sharing my own excitement about human space exploration and our journey to Mars with students.
I look forward to future visits to this amazing museum as there is so much to see.