A group of fans recently filled baseball's Fenway Park in Boston — not to watch homers fly over the Green Monster left-field wall, but to talk about spacecraft flying through the solar system.
On May 30, NASA held a public-engagement event for 4,000 students at the home of the Boston Red Sox. Scientists discussed the science of several missions — the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the upcoming Orion spacecraft for crewed missions to the moon, Mars and other solar system destinations, to name a few.
"Fenway Park became the command center for a unique NASA mission — a showcase about the wonders of our universe and the many ways NASA scientists study it," narrator Jerome Hruska said in a NASA video about the event.
"The concourse was transformed into a science center, featuring exhibits, hands-on activities and demonstrations," with discussions on topics ranging from exoplanets to meteorites, he added in the video, which NASA posted earlier this month.
The lead scientist for this endeavor was LRO project scientist Noah Petro, and several other scientists from other NASA centers participated. But the featured speaker was someone who has explored space personally: NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, commander of the International Space Station's Expedition 33 and the first astronaut to run the Boston Marathon in space (which she accomplished on a treadmill). She also is participating in Orion spacecraft development.
Even after the event concluded, NASA hung on to its field seats for a few more minutes. Maria Banks — a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a professional harpist — played the national anthem before the Red Sox game that day. The home team beat the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 6 to 4.