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Participants heard from Chris Cassidy at the International Space Station.

The 19th annual tribute to Hawaiʻi astronaut Charles Lacy Veach, hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium (HSGC), pivoted to a virtual event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery was a success, as the program has been viewed more than 1,200 times since it was presented live in late October.

“The virtual format created unique opportunities as we reached out for workshops and speakers from Hawaiʻi and well beyond, including direct from the International Space Station,” said Art Kimura, event co-organizer and educational specialist at the HSGC.

Keynote addresses were given by astronaut Chris Cassidy from the International Space Station, master navigator Nainoa Thompson, astronaut Stan Love, astronaut and crewmate of Veach Bill Shepherd, educator and astronaut Joe Acaba, Hawaiian Electric President Scott Seu and family members of Veach.

woman with ingredients in a lab
Mini workshop during Veach Day of Discovery 2020.

Participants, including Veach’s grandsons in Florida who were part of Veach Day for the first time, joined the virtual event from all the Hawaiian islands, across the U.S., and around the world, including Canada and Japan.

Space science experts offered workshops on making an air battery, learning computer code to rendezvous a spacecraft with the International Space Station, using a cell phone camera to paint with light; and demonstrations on electrolysis, convection, density, center of gravity and more.

“We appreciate our colleagues and alumni who graciously supported and contributed to this redesigned virtual event,” said Rene Kimura, event co-organizer and educational specialist at the HSGC in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. “The recording of the event is available to all. We hope this will serve as a valuable resource for teachers who are seeking ideas for their science classes and for parents looking for enrichment in this stay-at-home environment.”

Future events

To continue encouraging students and community members to innovate and explore, Veach Day organizers are offering a series of live virtual field trips throughout November and December to learn about frost and wind on Mars, tower gardens, Space Station air scrubbers, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Oceanit and more.

For more information including dates and times, descriptions and login information on these virtual field trips, email

See SOEST’s website for more.

–By Marcie Grabowski

Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery

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