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Bay Area Space Lovers Watch With Awe Jeff Bezos's Voyage To Outer Space

OAKLAND (KPIX)- On the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, the Bay Area space community watched in amazement Jeff Bezos' trip to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin rocket, Tuesday morning.

"Every time there's a launch, and every time there's a new milestone in space exploration, we get excited," said Adam Tobin, Executive Director of Chabot Space and Science Museum. "No matter who's doing it."

Eugene Tu, Director of NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, was "thrilled" for Bezos, and offered congratulations to the billionaire's team.

"There's no envy. There's really excitement. We consider them colleagues and partners. And really, we need that. That is the only way space exploration is going to grow and hopefully become part of everyone's life in the future," said Tu.

Tu and Tobin made the remarks at a press event to update the public on the construction progress of the museum's newest exhibit, "The NASA Experience", a collaboration between Chabot and Ames to "reimagine the space museum experience".

"But this is really different. One, we're not only looking back. We're not looking just to put an artifact or museum piece and talk about the history. We're looking to make this experience something about the current and the future as well," said Tu.

Chabot's staff will update the 80,000 square foot facility every six months. The initial offering will include exhibits on:

  • Astrobee, free-flying robot system designed as a research platform on the ISS-SPHERES, long-running and popular program, utilizing multiple flying test satellites
  • -Spectracart Interactive Demo, utilizing technology found on flights aboard NASA's modified jetliner SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy)
  • Miniature version of NASA Ames high speed wind tunnels
    • Tu also announced NASA recruiters would be scouring Chabot looking for high school students who could eventually become interns at the space agency's facility in Mountain View.

      "We are looking to tap into that and potentially have a pipeline of high school interns at NASA. And maybe they will choose a career path in space, maybe not. But even if they don't, they'll gain from that knowledge, whatever their future endeavors," said Tu.

      "It's definitely going to spark a huge amount of interest in these kids," said Sage Mosely, an incoming junior at Piedmont High School and aspiring aeronautical engineer.

      "I feel like science seems like an intimidating career path. And I think having these museums really helps the gap," said Lily Zheng, incoming junior at Foothill High School in Pleasanton.

      Maxwell Edmonds-Drati, an incoming freshman at University of San Francisco, said the new Chabot exhibits would help supplement schools' curriculum, and ignite curiosity in young visitors.

      "Do I want to be an astronaut? Do I want to be a chemist? I don't know, because my school doesn't have a program for either. But Chabot gives that to you, and this new exhibit gives that to you, and gives you an opportunity to interact with space science in a way that you probably otherwise wouldn't be able to," said Edmonds-Drati.

      Ultimately, Tobin said the goal of the new Ames exhibits is to empower hungry, impressionable visitors and build their confidence.

      "The ability to formulate your own questions, your own curiosity, and then see that through. Through experimentation, through testing, through trying, through a bold pursuit of your ideas. That's empowerment, and agency. And we believe that is a cornerstone of what our education of our youth should be," said Tobin.

      The NASA Experience is slated to open to the public in November 2021.

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