I am thrilled and honored to share with you that I have been selected to attend the ‘State of NASA’ event Monday, February 12th.   The ‘State of NASA’ event is an annual in-person experience where NASA invites social and traditional news media to their centers for a behind-the-scenes look at the innovative technologies being developed for exploration of the Moon, Mars and… beyond!

Applying to @NASASocial in late January, I was selected as one of 20 social media “groupies” that will have the opportunity to experience the event LIVE at Johnson Space Center Houston.   I received my detailed itinerary earlier this week and am over the moon (pun intended!!) excited to share it with you…. click on the links for more information on the agency areas I will get to explore.

Welcome and security clearance at Rocket Park
State of NASA address from acting NASA administrator, Robert Lightfoot.
Year of Education on Station (YES) Briefing
Mission Control Tour
Neutral Buoyancy Lab Tour
Space Vehicle Mockup Facility Tour to include the ISS and Orion capsule
Commercial Crew Program Briefing
Return and Conclusion at Rocket Park

I hope to come back with great new insights in space exploration to share with all of you very soon via this this blog!!   PLEASE let me know if you have any questions you want me to ask on your behalf by replying in the comments below.  Here are a few that I have already received from my current curious sixth graders. I hope to have answers the next time I post….

What if any animals are up in the ISS right now and how do they react to zero gravity?

What is the FIRST thing that astronauts will do when they step out of their spacecraft on Mars?

Who are you planning to send to Mars and how are you training them?




LIVE ACTION…Corn Snakes are Pipping!

I woke up this morning to this corn snake excitement!  Clearly I need a tripod or something for my phone.  The shaking is a bit annoying, but still the time-lapse video results are pretty amazing to witness.  These are big video files so be patient with the download.

Above you’ve seen a few of Cookie and Brownie’s newest offspring “pipping”. Pipping is the name given to the animal behavior of breaking or tearing through an egg to hatch. Birds and reptiles all “pip” and they all have a special sharp adaptation called an “egg tooth” that sticks out from their snout that is used for this purpose.  Corn snakes and most reptile eggs are soft and leathery so the egg tooth tears the shell so the little snake can peek out into the world.

So far, seven of Cookie’s nine eggs have some sort of “activity” as you can see below.  I am careful not to disturb them because I don’t want to startle the hatchlings causing them to leave their eggs too soon.  It is important that they fully consume their first “meal” before venturing fully out into their shoe box   …. Thanks for the egg yolk, mom! ...


The pebbly looking material the eggs are resting in is called vermiculite.  Vermiculite (available at most hardware stores)  is a natural mineral product that is known for being porous and holding moisture/water.  I use it to help maintain a humid incubator environment.  It is also a friendly first material for the hatchlings to explore once they have bravely exited their egg. Here is one of our first bold explorers.  And yes, she is amelanistic!!

Are you looking closely at the picture and videos????  How many amelanistic babies have you counted?

Remember the word amelanistic “dissected” works like this….  a = not,  melanistic = melanin.  Therefore, not or no melanin in these corn babies. Melanin is a pigment found in animal skin and hair that provides black/brown coloration.  Without melanin corn snakes will be red, yellow and white only.  Their eyes of course will be red instead of black because of the absence of melanin.

It’s not too late to take the poll below! We are waiting on two more eggs….




Survey says… Countdown to Baby Corn Snakes!

Anxiously Awaiting!


It has been 63 days since Cookie laid her second clutch of eggs.  ( Remember the first clutch sadly perished due to mold and heat in the homemade incubator at school 😦 )

This clutch of eggs have been snuggled in the Reptibator at a consistent 85° F and 85% humidity since May!  Two of the eggs shriveled and turned yellow so they had to be removed. There are now just nine viable eggs in waiting.   About three days ago some of the eggs began to dimple inwards which I have read is a sign of hatching soon to come.  I can’t wait!
Join me in anticipating the new hatchlings by completing the poll below.
HINT:  Cookie and Brownie both had an amelanistic mother.  Their dad was a normal. Amelanism is a recessive genetic trait (aa).  This website could help:  Corn Calculator

I’m anxious to see the “answer emerge” soon 🙂
Stay Curious!!