Press Release

NASA Invites Public to Free Planet Walk Activities on April 9 in Anne Arundel County, Md.

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2011
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Ever wonder what the solar system looks like up close? Well now you have the chance. On Saturday, April 9, scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. will team up with the Friends of Anne Arundel (AA) County Trails and the Anne Arundel Community College to shrink the 3.7 billion mile solar system down to 4.6 miles along the Baltimore & Annapolis (B&A) Trail.

Planet Walk is a day of free public programs that brings the solar system close to home. The Planet Walk takes place along the 4.7 section of the B&A Trail between Glenn Burnie and Severna Park, Md. At this segment of the Trail, 10 stations will be set up representing the Sun and the planets. Each station is spaced proportionally to their distance from the Sun. The Trail is open for biking, rollerblading or walking. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT scientists from NASA Goddard, astronomy clubs and local colleges will be at each station to provide information and to answer questions. There will be educational activities at many of the stations. Weather permitting, there will be solar observing at the Sun station.

The free event provides free parking at each end of the Planet Walk. The outdoor event will be cancelled if it rains.

“This is a great event for families, friends and individuals,” said Dr. Jim Lochner, who coordinates Goddard’s participation in the event. “Our scientists are eager to share what we know about the planets, and what NASA missions are learning. I’m very proud of the partnership we’ve forged between Goddard, the Friends of AA County Trails, and Anne Arundel Community College to put on this event.” Free evening activities will be held at Anne Arundel Community College’s Arnold campus. These evening events begin at 6:00 p.m. EDT and include two lectures at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. EDT. The first lecture focuses on “How to Build a Galaxy” by Dr. Jane Rigby, a scientist at NASA Goddard. At 7:00 p.m. EDT, “The Chesapeake Impact Crater” lecture will be led by Greg Redfern, a NASA Solar System Ambassador. At 8:00 p.m. EDT, a Star Gazing Party will be held at the College Observatory. The evening lectures will be held rain or shine.

“At last year’s event, I had the privilege of meeting an autistic young man with extraordinary knowledge of Mars,” said Dr. Kelly Fast, a planetary scientist at NASA Goddard who has participated in this annual event since its inception in 2009. “We come to share about the planets we love to study, but many times we are humbled by what the public shares with us.”

For more information on the Planet Walk event, go to:

For more information on NASA Goddard, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.