February 25, 2011
Marian University has received a thermal protective tile from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It will be housed in the Ben Sadoff Science Hall.
The tile that Marian received was made and used by NASA. The lightweight tiles protect space shuttles from extreme temperatures when orbiters re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
As a way to preserve the Space Shuttle Program as it nears its retirement, NASA is currently offering 7,000 shuttle heat shield tiles to schools and universities that want to share technology and a piece of space history with students. Only one tile is issued per school or university.
Each space shuttle carried over 24,000 separate Thermal Protection System tiles, and each one was a different size and shape. The authentic tile is presented to honor 30 years of Space Shuttle flights and the great achievements made by the men and women of NASA in science, aeronautics and space exploration.
The shuttle program is scheduled for mandatory retirement, in accordance with directives that President George W. Bush issued in the Vision for Space Exploration.