On Thursday, April 24, 1997, NASA participated in activities related to the national "Take Our Daughters to Work" Day. Goddard Space Flight Center hosted over 300 girls and their parents or mentors through a number of demonstrations, talks, videos, and hands-on exhibits.
About ten SSDOO staff members participated with seven visiting daughters in several specific activities within this organization. Following a demonstration of NSSDC's WWW services and new Planetary Images CD-ROM, the visiting girls ran the halls of the building in quest of answers to 16 questions posed in an "Information Scavenger Hunt." This hunt required the girls to find answers to questions about the organization, the science support services, and operations activities by looking at the numerous, colorful, informative posters adorning the walls of NSSDC's halls. The girls' excitement was evident as they tried to determine what XTE stands for (they all got it right: X-Ray Timing Explorer), but then they had to determine whether XTE is used to study black holes or X-rays from atomic clocks - that was a bit trickier. In preparation for a future with NASA, the girls learned a few additional acronyms (Space Science Data Operations Office [SSDOO], NSSDC, NASA Data Archive and Distribution Service [NDADS], Interplanetary Monitoring Platform [IMP] 8, Infrared Astronomical Satellite [IRAS]). They also identified correctly several missions that send data to the SSDOO in each of these disciplines: Sun-Earth connection, solar system, and astronomy.
SSDOO daughters, clockwise: Karen Borne, Jeannine Kilgore, Mariam Robinson, Bithynia Robinson, and Maeve Jopson.
Finally, they all answered correctly the final question on their list: "Is there ice cream on Mars?" With that, they were then invited to enjoy ice cream and pizza during a lunch panel discussion at which several ladies on the SSDOO staff described their life experiences (from childhood to NASA). It was a very exciting day for all, even for the parents, who toured other Goddard facilities with their daughters to see what NSSDC's colleagues are doing elsewhere on the center.
Erin D. Gardner, email@example.com, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.