Bera and Cruz-Diaz Teach at the Chickasaw Nation’s Aeronautics and Space Academy’s STEM Camp

BAER Scientists Dr. Partha P. Bera and Dr. Gustavo Cruz-Diaz participated in the Chickasaw Nation Aeronautics and Space Academy’s Science Technology Math  (STEM) Camp on the 7th and 8th of June, 2016 at Ada, Oklahoma. The camp was comprised of 24 high school students chosen by the academy on a competitive basis.  Some students were local Chickasaw Nation residents, while others came from neighboring states such as Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, and others.

Drs. Bera and Cruz-Diaz began their two-day presentation by outlining their background and education and then explaining their work with the Astrobiology team at NASA Ames.  The presentation continued with an introduction to astrochemistry and astrobiology followed by a flame-test demonstration.  The students then used hand-held spectrometers to learn more about IR spectroscopy.

The next day the students participated in a comet making activity using three pounds of dry ice and debris collected from the Academy’s front lawn.  The students next participated in a chromatography experiment to identify an unknown mixture made of two food colors. The event ended with a demonstration using the Orrey kit of the Kepler space telescope.