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For the first time, the Arizona SciTech Festival will kick things off at the world-famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale on Jan. 22 & 23. 

As Barrett-Jackson celebrates its golden anniversary, one of its concourses will be dedicated to the Pennzoil STEMFest powered by the SciTech Institute. There will be 40 STEM-related booths to visit, a ribbon- cutting ceremony to start the two-month-long statewide festival, and kids 12 and under get in free as part of the auction’s Family Day! 

This is the 11th year of the Arizona SciTech Festival, a grassroots effort to get young and old excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Currently, the festival is highlighting STEM hobbies, which include fans of classic wheels and those who might be more interested in what the future holds for transportation. 

Most of the festival’s 3,000 events happen in February and March throughout Arizona. Last year, it had to be NIMBLE as it all went virtual, but this year is different. “We’ve decided to do a hybrid model that includes online interactions and in-person so people can attend based on their comfort levels,” explains Kelly Greene, Chief Operating Officer for the SciTech Institute. “Our team supporting those in-person and online (events). Most are outside, but safety precautions still need to be in place. We’re excited to be back out in the community,” she says. 

The STEM concourse will feature major automakers and electric-vehicle manufacturers displaying their latest cars and technologies, live science activities, a STEM bus, a mobile STEM lab, robotics and other hands-on activities. “Whether you’re a NOVICE or an expert in any area, you can come out and explore at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at STEM Fest. Anybody’s invited from 0 to 103,” Greene encourages. The ribbon-cutting to kick off this year’s Arizona SciTech Festival happens at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22. Hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. that day and 8 a.m.–3 p.m. on Sunday. This kick-off event is at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road. 

For a list of AZ SciTech events in your area or to order tickets to Barrett-Jackson, go to

Huge Space Telescope Sent 1 MM Miles Away!

Telescope floating in space.The James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful astronomical observatory ever, launched into space on Christmas Day from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Webb is now traveling nearly 1 million miles to its destination, the second Lagrange point or L2. According to NASA, Webb’s mission is to “seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets.”

“The James Webb Space Telescope represents the ambition that NASA and our partners maintain to propel us forward into the future,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The promise of Webb is not what we know we will discover; it’s what we don’t yet understand or can’t yet fathom about our universe. I can’t wait to see what it uncovers!”

Webb is the scientific SUCCESSOR to the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. According to NASA, Webb carries four state-of-the-art science instruments with highly sensitive infrared detectors.

Webb’s mission of seeking out heat signals from the early universe requires the observatory’s instruments to remain extremely cold. One of the observatory’s tools is the sunshield. For the launch, the sunshield was folded up, origami-style, to fit inside a rocket. The sunshield was unfolded shortly after launch, and it will help Webb maintain its temperature goal by reflecting and RADIATING away solar energy. The sunshield measures 69.5 feet long by 46.5 feet wide—roughly the size of a tennis court!

The unfolding of the sunshield is part of a six-month process called commissioning. That deployment sequence is human-controlled, which allows the team the flexibility to pause and adjust as needed. At the end of that six months, Webb is expected to start returning images back to Earth.

The $10 billion telescope is an international joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. If you’d like to check out what’s going on with Webb, NASA is providing regular updates on its Webb telescope blog and posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

January 2022