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NASA astronaut coming to Liggett


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Eighth-graders Katie Zinn, Nick Amato and Craig Buhler work on a moon crater project with science teacher Andrea Champagne.

March 20, 2014
NASA Astronaut and U.S Naval Commander Christopher J. Cassidy will visit University Liggett School on Monday, April 7, for a full day of activities ranging from working with students on space-related projects to sharing his personal experiences in space.

The visit concludes with a special community lecture at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of University Liggett School, 1045 Cook Road, Grosse Pointe Woods.

During the day, Cassidy will meet with Liggett students at several assemblies and classroom visits that will apply Cassidy's space knowledge to what students are learning in class.

For instance, Cassidy will meet with third-graders, who will show him what they "packed" to go into space with him, and he'll talk with fifth-graders about life on the space station. Cassidy also will visit classes in the Middle and Upper schools and apply his experiences to their studies for example, charting the distance to the moon in math classes, and examining the effects of zero gravity on the body in science classes.

"His visit raises some interesting questions for students to explore," said Trey Cassidy, Head of the Upper School and Chris Cassidy's cousin. Trey Cassidy worked with NASA to arrange the visit, which includes a special partnership with the Michigan Science Center.

Chris Cassidy was selected by NASA in May 2004. During his NASA career, he completed six spacewalks, totaling 31 hours, 14 minutes and accumulated 182 days in space. He also spent 10 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL.

In addition to meeting with students in class, Chris Cassidy will discuss his spaceflight experiences during a lecture held in the evening. It will be open to the community.

"Chris' visit is just one of the many ways that Liggett is very much a part of the local community and the region," Trey Cassidy said. "By working with NASA and the Michigan Science Center, we have been able to bring an esteemed astronaut into our community and allow him to share his knowledge not only with our students and their parents, but people throughout the region."

As part of the partnership with the Michigan Science Center, Chris Cassidy will spend Tuesday, April 8, at the science center to share his experiences there. In exchange, the science center will allow Liggett to borrow a number of space artifacts for students to use in their classes. The science center also will provide a mobile planetarium for students to use before the astronaut's visit.

Among the artifacts: tiles from the Space Shuttles. "We'll look at the tiles and their design, and talk about how they work," Trey Cassidy says. "We'll also discuss the history of space exploration, good and bad, particularly as the tiles represent both parts of that."

The overall day will be one of part lecture, part discovery.

"There are so many facets to this visit," Trey Cassidy said. "There is Chris' inspirational journey as a person, and his learning that there are times when you don't get what you want, but you have to keep working at it. One of his goals was to become an astronaut, and he worked hard getting two engineering degrees, doing Navy SEAL work and being overseas. It's both fascinating and challenging, but he reached his dream. It's also fascinating to hear about life in space, and I know both our students and the greater community will look forward to hearing his stories as well."

The lecture is open and free to the public. RSVP by Wednesday, April 2, at uls.org/ChrisCassidyVisit or contact Gail Harley at 313.444.4444 Ext. 300 or gharley@uls.org.

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