Letter: The planetarium is a vital asset for Arlington students

Editor-in-Chief: I’m writing about funding for the David M. Brown Planetarium Director position in the Arlington School System. I hope funding will be restored, as it is vital to the continued operation of the planetarium.

This would be consistent with Arlington’s current plan to also fund the new projector system for the planetarium.

I have participated in the David M. Brown Planetarium several times, providing music-based science programs to elementary school students who represent all parts of the local community.

In terms of investment, the planetarium and its programs have had a huge impact on young science students and their families. The science programs I have conducted there are based on educational songs and have drawn sold-out crowds for fundraising events on at least three occasions in recent years. It’s something to see happy people lined up around the building to check out the music science programs at the planetarium.

In my youth, I visited planetariums and was deeply inspired by their programs to become an astronautical engineer in the US Air Force, and also to obtain a doctorate. in this domain. I would love to one day see other young people follow similar paths as savvy scientists and engineers for the good of our society.

Using music as an artistic teaching tool, I was able to promote interest in STEAM topics through my public access TV show, “Space Quest with Dr. Jim” on Fairfax Public Access and YouTube. Based on this material, the staff at the Arlington Planetarium have been kind enough to use some of my space story songs to create educational and well-received celestial shows.

I hope to see funding restored for the position of planetarium director so that the facility can resume operations as soon as possible.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Dr. James D. Thorne, USAF, Arlington

Arline J. Mercier