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Eclipse event: NASA, Purdue, IMS collaborate

An audience gathers to watch “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed” at the Brown Planetarium Oct. 4. Colin Brown, DN
An audience gathers to watch “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed” at the Brown Planetarium Oct. 4. Colin Brown, DN

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink Indiana) —   On April 8, Indiana Motor Speedway will be collaborating with NASA and Purdue University to hold a total solar eclipse event. The trio’s goal is to educate and inspire those who attend. To encourage more youth to attend, Indiana Motor Speedway made tickets for people 18 and under free.

With the excitement of being in totality, these three organizations want to take the opportunity to find and share the science spark in those interested. NASA will be holding steam education information, opportunities to meet astronauts and education programs for children. Purdue will also be hosting a special live podcast episode featuring a panel of astronauts, an informational educational program, stem symposium, and hands-on learning exhibits. For those who are visually impaired, they can access the eclipse experience through a tactile, braille machine. This development was created by engineers and Purdue graduates. All events will be held at Indiana Motor Speedway.

They will be offering two educational pathways for attendees of different levels. The sun track will be offered to those with a higher understanding who want a more in depth experience. The moon track will explain the eclipse in basic terminology so that families and youth can digest it easier.

“As I’ve told students in the past, I didn’t follow a path that I necessarily thought would make me an astronaut candidate. I did the things that I love and really excited me and engaged me,” Andrew Feustel, astronaut and geophysicist, said.

The main goal of the scheduled activities is to introduce the passion of science and show people how they too can pursue a career in the field. Purdue is also using this event to show potentially interested students what they can study at their Indianapolis campus, opening this summer. Some highlighted choices of study include general science, geology, astro engineering and planetary science. 

“When you put Indy 500 together with NASA together with Purdue University to symbolize speed, symbolize learning, and symbolize the undying human spirit of exploration,” Mung Chiang, president of Purdue University, said.

NASA will begin livestreaming the eclipse at 1 p.m.. They estimate that about 25,000 attendees will be present on April 8.