Utah teachers spend weeks as part of NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program

Dec 20, 2021, 12:09 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah teachers took a trip of a lifetime, courtesy of NASA. They got to hop aboard a jumbo jet called SOFIA – which is NASA’s flying telescope.

Maughan and Castleton were among 30 U.S. educators chosen for this prestigious astrophysics teacher training program.

They talked to KSL’s Tamara Vaifanua via Zoom about what this mission means for them and their students.

Milo Maughan teaches at Corner Canyon High and Clief Castleton at Hillcrest High, but for the past couple of weeks, they’ve been part of the NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program.

“Milo and I are sorta Star Trek nerds and trekkers,” Castleton said.

They’ve documented their journey on SOFIA — the only airborne observatory in the world — to share with their students back in Utah. They were able to observe and interact with scientists and mission crew members.

“To actually be there in person and watch the telescope in action gathering data and everything was just unreal,” Maughan said.

Castleton said the whole experience has been unreal.

“When we got up the stairs, I had to just put my hands on the hull and just let SOFIA kinda talk to me,” he said.

While their mission was temporary, their next stop is their own classrooms — inspiring a new generation. They’ll get to take back a whole new curriculum, courtesy of NASA.

“Where these kids are now and where they will be in their future, there really is no limit,” Castleton said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Teens playing with fireworks started a dumpster fire in Murray Saturday night. (Mountain Green Fire...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

Teens playing with fireworks start dumpster fire in Murray

Firefighters said some teens setting off fireworks started a small dumpster fire in Murray Saturday night.
11 hours ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West....
Michael Houck

UTA: One man dead, another injured after shooting at TRAX station

A man is dead, and another is in "serious condition" after a shooting at a Trax station Saturday evening.
1 day ago
This holiday weekend, officers are tracking down safety problems on the water, in 'Operation Dry Wa...
Michael Locklear

Utah officers target drunk boaters as part of holiday weekend safety blitz

This holiday weekend, officers are tracking down safety problems on the water, in 'Operation Dry Water.'
1 day ago
Supporters against abortion rights at the Utah Capitol....
Michael Houck

Hundreds of Utahns gathered at Utah capitol, celebrating the end of Roe v Wade

Hundreds of Utahns gathered to celebrate the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, asking those supporters to show compassion to the opposition.
1 day ago
The Left Fork fire on 06.20.22 as it's 2608 acres and 5% contained. (Credit: KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

‘Left Fork Fire’ is 100% contained after a two month battle

The Left Fork Fire is 100% contained but flared up again in mid-June, growing to over 4,000 acres.
1 day ago
FILE: Entrance sign at Yellowstone National Park. (NPS/Jacob W. Frank)...
Alex Cabrero

Yellowstone north loop reopens for visitors, removes limited capacity system

Yellowstone National Park reopens its northern loop after floods hit the park in early June.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Utah teachers spend weeks as part of NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program