COUNTDOWN WITH MR. K

Greetings To You!

I am very blessed that you have stopped by to share in this exciting adventure with me.  The time is fast approaching when I travel out to Palmdale, CA to experience the sights and sounds of Infrared Astronomy aboard the world’s largest flying observatory – NASA’s SOFIA Aircraft.

SOFIA stands for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.  As explained on the SOFIA website, SOFIA is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes.  The result of an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), SOFIA is an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches).

My partner, Mike Shinabery, of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and I were selected to participate in NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador (AAA) program in February.  We are the first educators from New Mexico to take part in the program, and I am the first Teacher for the Visually Impaired in the nation to be in the program as well.  I am proud to be able to represent my school, the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and all of our students both on our campus and around the great state of New Mexico.  I am also humbled to be able to do this on behalf of all students with visual impairments and blindness across the country.  I belong to you and I hope to make you proud!

Since our acceptance as Airborne Ambassadors we have prepared by taking a graduate level astronomy class through Montana State University.  It was rigorous and we learned a great deal about modern astronomy.  Since the end of the class, we have been waiting for our turn aboard SOFIA.  And that time is almost here!  We head out to Palmdale on September 13, with our flights occurring on Sept. 15th and 17th.

In the next few weeks leading up to our flights and after, I’ll keep you informed here on my blog by posting information about the SOFIA mission and some educational tid bits to ponder, and of course, sharing pictures and video from the adventure.  So check here often for updates and information about SOFIA and our flights.

Explore the blog by choosing the “Next Post” link at the bottom of each page, or by opening the “Hamburger Button” at the top of the page and choosing the next page you want to go to.

I’d love to hear from you.  Please comment on the posts here or email me at jkillebrew@nmsbvi.k12.nm.us.

Be Blessed In All You Do!

Mr. K

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56 thoughts on “COUNTDOWN WITH MR. K

  1. It was so nice reading your blog!! I will definitely be following you and checking in to read up about your experiences.
    Thank you for taking NMSBVI & our students into the air with you.

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  2. Mr. K that is so cool that you get to do that. Not every science teacher gets to do that, not even the ones wThat work with visually impaired people.

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    1. Thank you Felix! It is pretty cool and it’s kind of hard to believe that I was chosen to do this, but I’m very grateful that I was. Please stop by and leave more comments.

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  3. That is quite an accomplishment having your head in the stratosphere and your feet in the blogosphere! I am so proud to be teaching with you at NMSBVI. I can’t wait to read your posts from the SOFIA!

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    1. That’s a good question Katie! As an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador, I’m going to get to see how NASA and the astronomers who work with NASA conducts research and then share that with you and everyone else. It will all depend on what the astronomer’s will be looking at on our flights that will determine what I get to see.

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  4. Mr. k, Max Silva here, from Ms. Mary Vaughn’s class. To Infinity & Beyond, you have represented our school in such a way that makes me, and the rest of the little bears, so proud! keep up the good work!

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    1. Hello there Max!! I’m so glad you stopped by to check out what is happening. I am so proud to be able to share this with you and the rest of the little bears. You make my proud!

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  5. Hi Mr. K.,
    I am sure that at this point in time your head is already above the clouds, even though you haven’t quite yet boarded SOFIA . Have a wonderful time. So exciting!

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    1. Hi Lorrie! Thank you so much for stopping by to look around the blog. It is getting close and we are getting everything prepared to leave on Saturday for Flight Week! So much to do between now and then, but it will be all worth it.

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  6. Hi Mr. K,
    I’m excited to see the pictures and read your post in your adventure.
    Is it true that scientist already found 9 worlds other than us ? And if this is true do you think we are not alone ? ( something that puzzled me)

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    1. Hello Ms. Merlyn!! Thank you for stopping by the blog! Astronomers using instruments such as NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have actually now discovered upwards of 2,000 exoplanets orbiting distant stars. You can read about that science here:

      http://kepler.nasa.gov/

      The question of if we are alone in universe is an interesting one. As of now, no life beyond our planet has been discovered through science. What I think is a matter of opinion and cannot be proven scientifically because it is based on my own thoughts and beliefs. It’s an age old question that highlights our human desire to find meaning in life.

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      1. Thank you ! Mr K
        We are excited to hear more information from you when you come back.
        Have a safe trip back home.

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  7. Hello. I hope that your flight goes well. How long was the flight? How did the stars look? I heard that you might fly over Canada. Did you need permission to fly over Canada, or did you need to ask for permission? I know that airplanes can cary you a long way if you are at an altatude of about 39000 feet. How high did you go? How did the airplane manage to get up that high?

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  8. Congratulations to you for this great honor. Your dedication to visually impaired students is commendable. Through your hard work, you are bringing an awareness and better understanding of the education of our students. I wish you the best as you continue your exciting adventures that benefit our students, school and state.

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