On Monday, April 30, 2018, first graders welcomed a special guest.  Dr. Alan Kogut, of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland came to our classroom to talk to our students about outer space.  We learned about how wide and empty outer space is.  Did you know that if we made a model of the solar system with the sun the size of a gum ball, only the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter would fit in the classroom?  The planet Saturn would be down the hallway from our classroom, while Uranus and Neptune would be in the church.  We also learned about how scientists are able to study objects in space, such as other planets, stars, and galaxies.  We learned about Dr. Kogut's project, a balloon mission PIPER designed to study the Big Bang, scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018.  We also met the lab's mascot, a stuffed St. Bernard named Sparky.  In the afternoon, we wrote letters and stories, which will be fly on the PIPER mission.  When we get our letters back, we will own something that has gone to outer space!