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Young library patrons 'Stroll on Mars'

August 04, 2003

Children at three of Washington County's public libraries were recently invited to take a "Stroll on Mars" with Helen Hart of Johns Hopkins University's Department of Astronomy and Physics.

Hart works with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer mission, which involves a satellite that photographs space phenomena using ultraviolet light. Hart also has done extensive research about the planet Mars.

Working with Hart during the July 26 program were her husband, astronomer Jim Phillips, and a co-worker on the FUSE project, Julia Andersen.

The children were asked what they would take along on a trip to Mars, how they would get there and what they would find once they arrived. Using ribbons and a toy rocket ship, Hart explained the respective orbits of Earth and Mars and how it would take six months to arrive at the red planet.

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She also showed pictures of volcanoes, craters, canyons and small tornadoes called "dust devils" taken by satellites sent to Mars.

The Mars program was part of the library's "Blast Off To Reading" Summer Reading Club, which will continue through August at the Washington County Free Library on Potomac Street in Hagerstown, its seven branch libraries and through the bookmobile.

For information about the program, contact the library at 301-739-3250, extension 132.

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