by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Former Guam resident Marita Sablan Beard recently participated in the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission. Beard, who currently teaches high school earth science and physics in San Jose, California, was one of six teachers selected nationwide to be a part of the first team in the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Program.
Beard was able to work with scientists aboard the June research flight, saying, "We got to talk to everyone on the plane and get a first hand experience on what these people's jobs are like…what I came back with was a really rich idea of all the jobs that go into making SOFIA successful."
SOFIA is a world-class airborne observatory that complements major earth-based telescopes. It will enable a wide variety of astronomical science observations. Once validated, it will be useful in future space missions and ground-based observatories. Beard is the daughter of Edward and Marlene Sablan, formerly of Mangilao.