If you think you already know everything about space, guess again. Star Trek, Star Wars and most of the other sci-fi movies you may have seen are way off base.
Instead, check out REAL space adventures in a new video series called Star Scouts Discover NASA. If the movie Apollo 13 appealed to you, these videos will show you more of the right stuff.
The 13-video series, aimed at kids ages 5 to 12, uses NASA film footage with computer animation. Each video also comes with a packet that includes an intergalactic passport for Star Scouts, an invitation to join the Star Scouts fan club for $9.95, an iron-on transfer and an opportunity to send away for a free autographed photo of one of the Apollo 12 astronauts.
The two former astronauts who helped launch this series _ Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon _ are hoping it will spark interest in the space program. They're concerned today's kids are growing up without a respect for space.
After all, this is a generation born into the Space Age, so it's nothing new. In 1969, when a man walked on the moon for the first time, everyone was glued to the TV set. Today, many kids aren't even aware of when or why the shuttle goes into space.
"It's been 26 years since we landed on the moon. Thirty-six percent of the population wasn't born then," Conrad said in a phone interview from California.
The series takes place on a fictional cable TV show called Kosmo Klub. The show, written and produced by kids, gets help from space in the form of cartoon aliens Cygy and Zendo. Though you many not recognize it at first, the voice of Cygy is Nancy Cartwright, the woman who lends her voice to the character of Bart Simpson.
The first video of the series introduces Kosmo Klub and the aliens (who can be heard and seen only by children). Conrad, who plays the role of an uncle to one of the Kosmo Klub kids, visits the set and narrates NASA footage. Though Conrad said he used to be called a "space nerd," he fits in well with the kids on the video and even gets in a good line once in awhile: "Now, that's totally cool," Conrad says over footage of ice falling off a fuel tank.
The 41-minute video answers many space-related questions kids ask most, such as: How do you sleep in space? How do you eat in space (some of the NASA footage shows M
Ms floating around the space craft)? And the question asked most often by kids: How do you use the bathroom in space?
Conrad, a former test pilot, is a veteran of four space missions. With Apollo 12, he became the third man to walk on the moon. "Sorry I never got to go back," Conrad said about his lunar stint.
Conrad said he wants the video series to educate but also entertain kids and get them interested in space.
"When I was a kid, I dreamed about aviators like (Charles) Lindberg," Conrad said. "We want (kids) to dream about us going to the moon, so later on they can go to Mars."
Only the first video in the 13-video series is available, and it sells for $14.95. Look for it in Albertsons, Publix and Eckerd Drugs stores. The second video will be released April 5.