Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

European Space Agency, NASA, and Cosmosphere Collaborate on New Activity for Grades 3+


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – On February 17 at 10:00 a.m. CST, Cosmosphere hosts Volta Day at the Cosmosphere, a new collaboration with the European Space Agency, NASA, and the Tempio Voltiano museum in Italy. The event celebrates the birthday of Alessandro Volta (b. February 18, 1745), an Italian physicist who invented the world’s first battery.

Nearly 200 local elementary students will participate in-person with a live screening of “Build a battery with Astronaut Luca Parmitano,” a custom interview and instructional video created for Cosmosphere’s LaunchLearning education platform by European Space Agency Astronaut Luca Parmitano. With guidance from the Cosmosphere’s LaunchLearning team, in-person participants will each create a version of Volta’s battery by following Parmitano’s instructions.

An Italian himself, Parmitano is enthusiastic to share the historical importance and the science behind Volta’s invention. He knows first-hand the importance of battery power in space. He helped install the lithium batteries that power the International Space Station today.

NASA Astronaut Kayla Barron, who recently returned from the International Space Station, will record a custom Welcome Message for Volta Day at the Cosmosphere discussing the current power situation on the ISS.

Virtual participants can watch Barron’s welcome and Parmitano’s instructional video on Cosmosphere’s YouTube channel starting at 10:00 a.m. CST on February 17 or thereafter.

Cosmosphere’s LaunchLearning team created a battery building kit for educators and students to build a version of Volta’s battery along with Parmitano. One free kit per educator is available to the first 100 teachers who request it. A class set of kits can be purchased for $2/kit plus shipping. Teachers can email free kit requests or class set orders to [email protected].


The Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate. Located at 1100 North Plum in Hutchinson, KS, its collection includes U.S. space artifacts second only to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. This unique collection allows the Cosmosphere to tell the story of the Space Race better than any museum in the world while offering fully immersive education experiences that meet Next Generation Science Standards. The Cosmosphere also features the Carey Digital Dome Theater, offering daily documentary showings, a digital Planetarium, Dr. Goddard’s Lab, where visitors experience live science demonstrations, and CosmoKids, an interactive STEM area for children accompanied by an adult.