SpaceU is once again participating in an annual international — and planetary — event: International Observe the Moon Night, which promotes awareness of lunar science and exploration. As part of the annual event, UCF will host its own Observe the Moon Knight — providing free access to telescopes and space-related activities around the Reflecting Pond on Oct. 21. The event is free and open to the public.
Some of UCF’s space experts will be on hand to help participants catch the best lunar views from campus. The event will be held 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, weather permitting. That is before the night sky is the darkest, but you can still see the moon, says UCF College of Sciences Assistant Professor of Physics Adrienne “Addie” Dove.
Dove and Professor of Physics Yan Fernandez will be in attendance sharing insight on their research related to the moon, including NASA’s Lunar-VISE mission, which will be exploring a region of the moon to identify minerals and chemical resources.
UCF Libraries and a few student organizations will have booths and activities for attendees to learn more about astronomy and physics — from meteorites to water rockets and exploring moon craters. Attendees can also learn about the moon as they collect stamps for a lunar passport at each of the space stations, staffed by UCF planetary scientists, science librarian and members of the university’s Astronomy Society.
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UCF is known as SpaceU since it was founded in 1963 to develop science and talent in support of space research. The university continues its strong tradition of “reaching for the stars” — from producing its own simulated Martian soil to more than a dozen projects aimed at getting people back on the moon safely, many of which directly support NASA’s Artemis program. In fact, nearly 30% of Kennedy Space Center employes graduated from UCF. More than a dozen UCF researchers have asteroids named after them, and UCF has a planet named in its honor.
Honoring UCF’s long-standing history of work with space industry carries into UCF athletic programs with themed Space Games that first launched with football in 2016. On Oct. 18, the No. 2 UCF men’s soccer plays its Space Game against Coastal Carolina. Women’s soccer and volleyball have also played Space Games this year.
On Nov. 11, UCF football will play its seventh annual Space Game, with Oklahoma State as this year’s opponent. UCF’s 50-yard line at the FBC Mortgage Stadium lines up on the exact latitude as Launch Complex 39A, NASA’s most historic launch pad, located about 35 miles east of the university.