PUNTA GORDA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has cast a historical footprint on the world like few others, and now a piece of that legacy is on display at Edison State College Charlotte Campus.
Edison State was among the educational institutions selected this summer to take part in NASA's Space Shuttle Tiles for Teachers program. The thermal protection tile is on display for the public within the Vernon Peeples Learning Resources Center located on the Charlotte campus.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for all of Charlotte County and Edison State to be a part of preserving a unique piece of history," Charlotte Campus President Dr. Patricia Land said. "I think the shuttle tile is fascinating and a great source of inspiration."
Edison discovered the opportunity through Web Services Manager and Punta Gorda resident Mark Savage, a self proclaimed NASA enthusiast. Savage discovered the Tiles for Teachers program while browsing the NASA artifact webpage, informed Dr. Land of the opportunity and registered the Charlotte campus with only $23.40 needed for shipping and handling.
Dr. Richard D. Yarger oversaw the project once Edison State had officially been selected. The former Charlotte Campus Provost arranged for a display within the library that includes an informational poster and hands-on exercise.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the tile is its weight of 5.65 ounces, and the fact it can withstand temperatures from minus 250 F. in space and 3000 F. during reentry.
Celebrating nearly 50 years of excellence, Edison State College is Southwest Florida's largest, most accessible and most affordable institution of higher education. Proud to be tobacco-free, Edison State serves more than 24,000 students per year in five counties and online. For more information visit www.edison.edu.
"Each of these tiles is like a puzzle piece that has a specific size. They fit together perfectly like a skin to protect the shuttle," Dr. Yarger said. "This one only weighs about 5 and a half ounces. You could literally hold the tile in your hand, put a blowtorch to it and you would be fine."
For more information on viewing times or to arrange a group tour, contact the Charlotte campus library at 941-637-5620. For more information about Edison State College Charlotte Campus please visit www.edison.edu/charlotte or call 941-637-5629.