August 30, 2011

Donation a piece of NASA history

WNC Observatory Gets Space Shuttle Tile

Robert Collier & Dan Neverett with Space Shuttle tile
Robert Collier & Dan Neverett with Space Shuttle tile

The Jack C. Davis Observatory at Western Nevada College now houses a part of our nation's space exploration legacy. The college has received an authentic thermal protection tile from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's space shuttle program. Thousands of the tiles cover each of the space shuttles that orbited Earth and carried astronauts to the International Space Station over the past three decades.

Observatory Director Robert Collier called the acquisition, now framed and ready for viewing, a wonderful tribute to our nation's space program.

"It honors 30 years of science, aeronautics and space exploration made by the men and women of NASA," he said. "We are at the end of one era of space exploration and the beginning of another."

WNC Vice President Dan Neverett learned that authentic tiles from the space shuttle program were being offered to educational institutions at no cost except the shipping, and immediately contacted Professor Collier about requesting one.

Collier has more than an academic interest in the space shuttle program. In the late 1960's, he worked on a top-secret project that turned out to be creating batteries to power the Voyager space probes, which were launched in the 1970s and still send information to Earth today.

Now, he can be part of another important space connection.

"The value in having this," he said, "is allowing people to come to the observatory and see the greatness of our space industry, and what it can do for the future."

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