Posted by: COSI | June 9, 2011

Invention Convention, International Space Station, Space Walks & COSI

I know the title sounds like one of those mindbenders of what do all these items have connecting them?  Well, at least in my mind, role, and experience they all come together.

Not too long ago we hosted Invention Convention here at COSI—one of those celebrations and encouragement of student creativity and interest in bettering the world that seems so natural to have here at COSI.  I walked around the student exhibition areas (making some nervous as they thought I was a judge 😉 checking out the displays.

As I skimmed the student work I saw many efforts that looked similar to design/invent activities that I’d done as a young student with an interest in science (not spectacular, but a good exercise in process and scientific thinking).  But then a few popped out of the hundreds as showing some real special creativity and promise.

At the same time we hosted Invention Convention, a former student of mine whom I remember with that type of creativity, promise, and drive, Mike Fincke, was preparing as a crew member for the last flight of the Endeavor.   What I didn’t know was that Mike was going to take the last walk of a shuttle astronaut as he did some repairs on the International Space Station (ISS) just before Endeavor returned to earth for retirement.

And ironically, since he’d already had two tours of duty on the ISS (one of which he’d been commander) Mike now holds the US record for most time in space of any astronaut!  All from a kid who was showing promise at the same age of the Invention Convention students we recently had here at COSI.

I wonder what’s in the future for some of those most inspired and driven students.

And one more interesting COSI connection with all of this.

Who was the first woman to walk in space?  My brilliant and well known predecessor as COSI President & CEO, Kathy Sullivan.  So there we are with a direct connection to the first woman to walk/work in space and an indirect connection to the last shuttle astronaut to walk in space.

Maybe we can start a 6 degrees of separation from COSI as a new phenomena 😉


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