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Starry Heavens Newsletter
May 2018

Meet Trinity Bennett
The Center for Aerospace Education and the Hokulani Imaginarium have been happy to welcome Trinity Bennett as an intern to enable her to complete her requirements for her capstone Senior project at Maryknoll High School. Her topic is on the subject of the importance of space exploration. Over the past few weeks Trinity has engaged with elementary school students in the Aerospace Exploration Lab during school field trips and summarized her project for audiences in the Imaginarium. I have asked her to provide a summary of her topic for this newsletter and am happy to present it under her byline. We have been delighted to have her as an intern and wish her well in her future endeavors. Upon graduation from Maryknoll, she will be attending Casper College, where she has accepted an athletic scholarship to play volleyball. We look forward to much success for Trinity in the future no matter what she pursues.

    Krissie Kellogg with Trinity in the Aerospace Lab 
The Importance of Space Travel by Trinity Bennett
During the first semester of my Junior year, when I was first introduced to the idea of a senior project, I immediately knew that I was interested in the topic of space travel.  After a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2016,  I solidified my decision. My project, “The Celestial Sky”, focuses on the importance of  space travel for three broad reasons. Firstly, humans need a new home because of: global warming, ocean acidification, over population, and the depletion of resources. My second point is ‘Technologic innovations made for space travel have positive results for everyday life.” Inventions such as: Teflon-Coated Fiberglass, the ventricular assist device, remote robotic surgery and even the cameras in our phones. My third and last point is ‘Space travel builds our knowledge of the universe and our understanding of our cosmic evolution as evidenced in the big bang theory and Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Part and parcel of our human condition is the desire to understand our place in the universe, that is, to understand whether we are uniquely alone or is there intelligent life beyond our precious blue planet.
Chocolate and the origin of the solar system?

image from the ChemPhysChem journal

How important is chocolate to your life? Some people say they can’t live without it. But could it be that we owe life on Earth to chocolate? “Bah – Humbug”, you say. Not so fast skeptics and naysayers. Chemists at the University of Hawaii Manoa have created and identified three chocolate flavor molecules under conditions that simulate how such molecules might form in the cosmos. One of these molecules had tentatively been detected by astronomers in star- and planet-forming regions of space as well as in comets, but scientists were unclear how they might have formed.
Under the direction of Professor Ralf I. Kaiser and
Matthew J. Abplanalp, a chemistry doctoral candidate, the UH team demonstrated how molecules found in interstellar ices could be transformed by ionizing radiation from galactic cosmic rays. Three of the molecules created mimic the taste and flavor of chocolate. The chocolate flavor molecules Kaiser’s team detected were comprised of propanol and butanal, which are complex organic molecules knowns as COMs—substances containing six or more atoms of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Of the more than 200 molecules detected by astronomers in the interstellar medium, COMs account for a third of the matter that exists in space between stars. COMS are thought to be the building blocks of more complex molecules essential to life, and astronomers have long sought an explanation for their formation.
This new research published in the journal ChemPhysChem takes scientists a step closer in their quest to understand how the solar system and Earth formed, and how life began. Perhaps this study gives new meaning to an old saying about life: “How sweet it is!”
Reservations Suggested
Due to limited seating of 84 attendees in the Imaginarium, we recommend making reservations for our programs. Call (808) 235-7433 between 8:30am - 3:30pm, Monday - Friday. Reservation phone line is not available on weekends or holidays.

Our admission prices are:
  • $8 General admission
  • $7 WCC students, military, seniors (65 years or older), with ID
  • $6 Children (ages 4-12 years)
  • Free for children under 4 years of age (1 per paying adult), and WCC faculty or staff with university ID

Please pick up and pay for reserved tickets at the Imaginarium Box Office at least 15 minutes prior to showtime. Unclaimed tickets may be sold to waiting customers on a first come, first served basis.
Please visit and LIKE our WCC Imaginarium Facebook Page.

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As always, we welcome your feedback or questions, feel free to phone (808) 235-7350 or email to If you would like information regarding our Adopt-a-Show sponsorship program please click here.
Dineene O'Connor
Manager, Hōkūlani Imaginarium
Windward Community College
Hale Imiloa 135A
Office (808) 235-7350

Wednesday, May 9,
7:00 pm
Saturday, May 12,
1:00 pm
Between Earth and Sky

Saturday, May 12,
2:00 pm 

Ancient Skies,
Friday, May 25,
7:00 pm
Flying Monsters,
Friday, May 25,
8:15 pm
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