The SOFIA Project is progressing and we would like your suggestions. SOFIA (STRATOSPHERIC OBSERVATORY FOR INFRARED ASTRONOMY ) will be a major new airborne astronomical observatory, replacing the recenly retired C-141 based KAO. The Kuiper Airborne Observatory successfully made astronomical history for 20 years. It is envisioned that SOFIA will fly for at least as many years extending man's knowledge of the infrared universe far beyond today's capabilities. You may have enjoyed the chance to "fly" aboard KAO during the recent LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE series.

The SOFIA Education/Outreach Office would appreciate your input in helping NASA expand on the experiences learned from KAO. You may want to review the act ivities of the FOSTER PROGRAM which used KAO to take teachers to the edges of space. We are planning to provide flight opportunities for ordinary people to fly aboard SOFIA to experience the thrill of actual astronomical research and discovery. SOFIA mission participation will be expanded beyond educators to include interested citizens from many walks of life. Consideration is being given to amateur astronomers, the media, high school and college students, and people with scientific interests beyond astronomy who can use SOFIA for their observations.

In the I HELPED DESIGN SOFIA opportunity we would like your ideas and suggestions. Explain in 50 words or less what kinds of activities YOU would like to do if YOU could fly aboard SOFIA at 41,000+ feet. SOFIA will be as close to flying aboard the Space Shuttle as most people will ever experience. The Infrared Telescope will be supplied by DARA of the Federal Republic of Germany. The 2.5 meter instrument flying aboard the modified 747 will be larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. SOFIA will be the largest airborne astronomical observatory ever constructed following a successful heritage of NASA programs devoted to unlocking the secrets of the universe.

For the I HELPED DESIGN SOFIA project our Education/Outreach Office would like to know a bit about YOUR background. What are your interests, occupation, age, and your mailing address (both postal and e-mail) ? In return SOFIA will send you a Certificate of Appreciation and place you on our future mailing lists. And, as a bonus, consideration is being given to perhaps offering the author of the best essay an opportunity to ACTUALLY FLY aboard SOFIA when it becomes operational in 2001 !

Since this is an Internet Project from the SOFIA offices at NASA Ames Research Center all replies are to be sent directly via e-mail to the SOFIA Project Educator. Remember, your input is important and will be used in actually assisting NASA in the design of facilities aboard SOFIA. You can play an important role in the development of a major NASA program, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy. We will keep you posted on the world wide web as the design progresses.

Send all responses to:

SOFIA Homepage || Live From the Stratosphere
Passport to Knowlege Homepage