Blog: Happy 4th! and “Astrobotany. Is that like The Martian?”

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

I was wearing the new astrobotany shirt (shameless plug, but I was, for real) as I ordered coffee yesterday.  I frequent Starbucks often, and the barista recognized me, as he previously asked about the other astrobotany shirt I was wearing.  Our first interaction went like this:

“Nice shirt.  Astrobotany.  Is that like The Martian?”

Classic.  “Yes.” I laughed. “I work in a lab that is trying to figure out how to grow plants in space.”

Today, he remembered me, and asked “So did you have yesterday (the 4th of July) off or do scientists like you not get a break?”

“Actually,” I replied.  “I did get the day off and I spent it with colleagues from the lab.”

Which brings me to Wednesday

I went to Richard’s house and we had a cookout, shot off fireworks, and talked about his garden.  While the 4th is a cause for celebration in the States, since Richard and Simon are both British nationals, they jokingly lamented the loss of the States from the UK.

By the end of the day, Richard was also lamenting the loss of his drone, which he broke yesterday trying to get my drone out of the tree, which was stuck up in the tree because I tried to get a badminton shuttlecock out of a branch.  It was a bad day for the astrobotany drone program.  Our fleet of two took some substantial damage over a 50 cent shuttlecock.

Richard, Kai Brito, and I talk with K-12 Educators about NGSS

We’ve mentioned it only briefly, but Richard, Kai Brito and I drove down to Carthage College in Milwaukee on Monday to meet with our colleague Dr. Andrea Henle.  Dr. Henle ran one of the first full astrobiology courses in the country at Carthage during the spring semester of 2018.  On that Monday, we talked with 3 middle and high school science teachers to discuss how we could assist them in running astrobiology/astrobotany courses in their classrooms.  One of the most important takeaways from our chat was the desire to thoroughly fulfill the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that was recently implemented in Wisconsin.  Using their awesome input, we will hopefully be developing astrobotany curriculum here on that can help teachers develop lesson plans that practice the core components of NGSS, including inquiry-based research.

That’s all I have for this week!  I’ll elaborate more next week!

Let’s grow plants in space.

– Kai

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *