Well, you won't get to shake hands with the spacecraft, of course, because it's doing its job thousands of miles above the Earth's surface. You can, however, see a giant model of Chandra, view large-scale images, and meet many people who have worked on the mission during this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Some of our favorite Chandra images will be on display
Every summer, the Smithsonian throws a big two-week party on the National Mall, and in 2008 the Folklife Festival runs from June 25-29 and then from July 2-6. Each year, three themes are picked to showcase. One of those this year is celebrating NASA's 50th anniversary. To help highlight all of the great space science NASA is doing, Chandra will be there in style. First off, a 1/5 scale model will be on display. Since the spacecraft is over 60 feet in real life - that's one of the largest payloads ever to fly on the Space Shuttle - this model is a whopping 12 feet long.
The three themes of the 2008 Folklife Festival
In addition to the model, we'll have almost a dozen beautiful blow-ups of Chandra images for viewing. And, to explain what you are seeing and to describe their experiences working for Chandra and NASA, there will be employees of the mission on hand. There will be a wide range of careers represented, from astrophysicists to computer programmers to engineers.
So if you are in the DC area over the next couple of weeks, come down and say hello. It's a chance for us to share the great science of X-ray astronomy and Chandra in a different way, and we're looking forward to doing so.
-Megan Watzke, CXC