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“NetworkArts students are giving back to the community. I am so proud of what NetworkArts is doing.”

Homer Hickam
Former NASA scientist and best-selling author

Astronauts Help Henry School Students Reach New Heights

Who doesn't dream of meeting real-life heroes? So what a thrill it must have been for 35 students from the Henry School when they got up close and personal with NASA astronauts as they studied the history of astronomy.

Homer Hickam, best-selling author and former NASA scientist whose boyhood fascination with rocketry was the subject of the movie "October Sky," worked with NetworkArts to develop this project. He also arranged for a number of astronauts to write to the students and videotaped a 15-minute message tailored specifically to them. And he attended the mosaic's dedication in person.

Sixth-grade students worked with NetworkArts to sculpt the faces of 30 astronomers throughout history who have contributed to evolving theory; diagrammed the solar system; and learned about the scale of the universe, the structure of the Sun, the lifecycle of stars, galaxy shapes, the electromagnetic spectrum, black holes, and the theory of the universe's beginning and end. Students also studied and sculpted rockets representing the history of rocketry with a culminating trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, where the students were able to observe a number of the actual rockets they had sculpted.


NetworkArts was invited to work with Henry School by the Mt. Airy Schools Committee. The final work was built with the participation of the entire student body of 600 students.

The mosaic -- on a primary corner in Mt. Airy facing Weaver's Way Food Co-op -- is now a community landmark and an illuminating resource for all to learn about the history of astronomy.