Mission Control took a field trip to MotorCity ComicCon over the weekend. My haul was pretty small, but I brought home some sketches of Ellie by Katie Cook and Michael Roll, plus I forgot to post one more I got from Joshua Buchanan back in February at the MSU Comics Forum! Thanks all!
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A few weeks ago Mission Control received a request from children’s book author, former comics editor, and now fourth grade teacher Phil Amara: How can an elementary school teacher use Ellie on Planet X best in class?
Not being a teacher myself (although the Strang Institute Mission Control has many on staff), I turned the question over to Ellie’s Facebook and Twitter followers. The answers boiled down to teaching about space exploration, robotics, the importance of science, the fun of reading, using your imagination, sharing, and empathy. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Then Phil’s fourth graders took inspiration from Ellie’s discoveries and made their own comics about science and exploration. Phil sent a few pics to share!
Thanks, Boston Fourth Graders! You Rock!
When Ellie was being programmed for her mission to Planet X, one of the ingenious decisions by Professor Strang was to teach her by reading the brain patterns of people in the process of doing various things. He started out small, literally teaching her to crawl first, before moving onto more complex functions.
Eventually, Ellie was “instructed” by experts in their fields. And not just the sciences. She got a heaping helping of artistic programming as well. All in an effort to “…bring up a well rounded representative of what it means to be human.”
These are a few drawings of Ellie putting some of that arts training into practice. Despite her rather heavy metal makeup, she’s really quite agile. Because she has treads instead of feet, she became quite adept at an off-the-ice version of figure skating that can only be described as graceful.
Mission Control’s head of the Astro-Communications department, Dr. Michelle McNichols, points out a surprising new discovery to other Ellie team members.
From left to right: alien biology expert Peanut; one of our new interns (behind the globe); Dr. McNichols; Strang Institute Director Dr. Leo Strang; and from the original Ellie team over forty years ago: planetary geologist Dr. Zahi Sharif; robotics engineer Dr. Roukia Sowadaogo; astrobiologist Deepa Baruah; and astrophysicist Dr. Shin Hayata.
Update: Here’s the color version!
As if the great Jay Fosgitt couldn’t get any greater. Now he’s illustrating My Little Pony for IDW. And he whipped up this fancy image of Ellie riding her very own pony at a comic signing yesterday. What little robot girl didn’t want a pony when she was young?
Timor was having trouble sleeping. It seems he was worried that the Voyager spacecraft was lonely way out there by itself. So the CBC got astronaut Chris Hadfield to let him know that Voyager was doing just fine, and that a busy space explorer is a happy space explorer.
And Ellie takes on the call from the ISEE3 Reboot Project to say, “Hi” to Timor from all mechanical space explorers.