Local student featured in Hubble documentaryWritten by Kristen Criswell | | email@example.com
Kari Stausmire was a fifth grader when she set out to save the Hubble. Now, six years later, she’s being featured in a documentary about the telescope she wanted to save. Stausmire is featured in a documentary honoring the 20th anniversary of the Hubble by NHK Japan TV. The 90-minute special is airing April 11 in Japan.
While preparing for her class trip to the Lucas County Challenger Learning Center for a mock space mission, the Oregon resident came across a Time for Kids article about the Hubble Space Telescope. The article said Hubble was expected to stop working in 2007 and after visiting the Hubble Web site to learn more, Stausmire decided to save the telescope.
“At the time I thought [the Hubble] was a really cool thing that benefited many people. I was sad to see NASA decide to stop using the telescope,” she said. “The story sparked an interest and I thought I could help.”
With help from her science teacher Terri Hook, as well as her fellow classmates at Starr Elementary School, Stausmire began raising money to send to NASA to fix the telescope. After collecting money, including pennies, nickels and dimes from students, $1,400 was raised, Stausmire said.
Stausmire sent an e-mail to NASA saying she wanted to donate money to save the telescope. NASA thanked Stausmire for the money and told her the organization has enough money to keep Hubble running but it was too dangerous to fix, Stausmire said. NASA suggested Stausmire donate the funding to somewhere else.
Stausmire donated the money raised to the Lucas County Challenger Learning Center, which she said sparked her interest in space.
“After going through one of their missions, I learned how complex space travel was,” she said.
Stausmire originally wanted the money to fund missions for other students but the funding would only provide two mission. Eventually the center purchased a reflector telescope, similar to Hubble, that could be enjoyed for a longer period, said Reed Steele lead flight director of the Challenger Learning Center.
The telescope, named Starr-Stausmire, has been used at star parties to view the night sky, eclipses and planets, Steele said.
The great thing about [trying to save the Hubble] is she did all on her own. It was all her idea,” Steele said.
The fifth grader’s work didn’t go unnoticed by the public and Stausmire was featured on the TODAY Show and in Time for Kids.
When NASA decided to fix the telescope in 2009, Stausmire was a VIP guest at the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-125.
Stausmire visited the Kennedy Space Center, attended the briefing and de-briefing sessions for the mission, met the astronauts’ families and sat at the nearest viewing location for the launch.
“I’m glad they decided to save it. [The Hubble] provides an eye opening view into space. Having the Hubble up there makes space available for the normal population,” Stausmire said.
The Clay High School junior still has an interest in space, but isn’t looking to pursue the field in college, Stausmire said.
“I’m glad I did it. It’s just nice to see one kid can affect so many other people, and that they can start a ripple effect. Something I thought was a little thing turned into a big thing that is inevitably spreading around the world,” she said.
For more information, visit www.savingthehubble.com.