They opened the NASA film vaults and built the biggest winner since Planet Earth. The Discovery Channel premiered “When We Left the Earth” in Beverly Hills for an audience of science celebrities–and teachers. The DEN was in full force at the Paley Center for Media where they were wined and dined and shown what turned out to be a great program that went beyond images from space. The American public in the space race days was more innocent and more obsessed with sky than dirt. The spirit of the times shows through every frame of Discovery’s new series. The cars, the clothes, the crewcuts, all were reflect an era was would end soon enough. Bill Paley, the broadcast pioneer at CBS who basically invented networks, would have loved the program in the center named for him. Bill Nye and Buzz Aldrin were there, and Buzz was generous with his time with the DEN. It was quite a special evening. There was even a special drink, The LiftOff, although neither ex-pilot Buzz nor any teacher had one (I swear!). Too far to drive and school in the morning for everyone (but the picture is for you, Mark Bantle). A great moment was when the representative from Discovery thanked Buzz for his inspiring a generation. And then thanked the teachers in the room for the same thing. Nice feeling in the room! The premiere gives me the excuse to share some very cool space media for your desktops– some brand new and some you have read about here before. Microsoft just released the World Wide Telescope. Tiz cool. Visit the site and wait out the eternal load–it’s worth for the pretty, pretty, pictures. Video introduction below. Free. Don’t forget the Stellarium, also free. And our older friend, Google Sky. And a newcomer to me, Celestia. Yep, free. Some educational support here (the CelestiaMotherLoad). As the year winds down, drawn the blinds, bring out the LCD and let kids compare the sites! They talk a lot about storytelling at World Wide Telescope. It’s a beginning. Enjoy the videos below from Ted.com. Most interesting talk videos since the Academy of Achievement and the Infinite Thinking Machine. End the school year with some stimulation! See you at the summer institutes. And don’t forget to take two minutes and enter the YoungScientistChallenge for teachers and students ($50k prize for a media-making.) Video supplement 1: Ray Gould, a researcher at the Harvard Center for Astophysics gives the first public demo of the World Wide Telescope: Ray Gould: The World Wide Telescope.
Video 2: Bill Stone discussed mining lunar ice for space fuel and studying Europa: Bill Stone
Video 3: Stephen Hawkings on the Universe: Stephen Hawkings