NASA Takes Over Fenway Park for Space-Mission Show (Video)

suni williams nasa fenway park
Astronaut Sunita Williams speaks about NASA missions at a space-agency event at Boston's Fenway Park on May 30, 2018. (Image credit: NASA)

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. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace