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Record year for Purdue Space Day

Purdue Space Day 2017 attracted a record number of children for the annual event. More than 700 participants in grades 3-8 attended this year's event, which gave them the opportunity to learn about STEM.

Purdue AAE alum Mark PolanskyPurdue Space Day 2017 attracted a record number of children for the annual event.

Children enjoy Purdue Space DayMore than 700 participants in grades 3-8 had the opportunity to learn about STEM with the help of more than 300 Purdue student volunteers. This year's theme, "A New Space for All Mankind," means that the future of STEM and space exploration is for everyone, regardless of gender, race, culture or social status.

The children participated in space, science and engineering centered activities. They experienced what life is like on the International Space Station, built and launched satellites, explored the concepts behind rockets, and created an air filter for the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft.

Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, welcomed the children to Purdue Space Day.

Chiang also introduced this year's VIP astronaut, Purdue AAE alumnus Mark Polansky (BSAAE/MSAAE '78). Polansky is a veteran of three NASA missions. He told the children about his experiences in space and how Purdue Space Day provides a unique opportunity to understand what life is like for an astronaut.

An Executive Board of Purdue students spend a year planning the event. The directors of this year's Board were Sam Evani (a senior in AAE) and Nicole McMindes (a senior in mechanical engineering).

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium and the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics support Purdue Space Day as well as corporate sponsors Boeing and Raytheon.

Purdue Space Day began more than 20 years ago on November 9, 1996, with around 120 grade school children participating. Since then, more than 8,700 grade school students have participated in the one-day event.