CollectSpace, Space.com (October 2, 2009)
"A well-traveled, 12-inch Buzz Lightyear action figure received a homecoming on Friday worthy of any full-size astronaut who returned after more than a year spent onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
"Disney Parks and NASA came together Friday at Walt Disney World in Florida to celebrate Buzz Lightyear's landing with the launch of a contest for kids to design the 'Toy Story'" astronaut's mission patch and debut a new online game as part of the 'Space Ranger Education Series' on the space agency's Web site.
"NASA also used today to announce a competition for students to develop science experiments to be conducted onboard the station.
"The celebration culminated this afternoon with a marching band-led ticker-tape parade down the Magic Kingdom's Main Street USA featuring the flown Buzz Lightyear, his namesake - moonwalker Buzz Aldrin - and astronaut Mike Fincke, who was on the space station for six of the 15 months that the toy Lightyear was there. (Visit collectSPACE to see photographs from the parade.)..."
Okay: There isn't anything terribly 'scientific' about a 12-inch action figure getting a ticker-tape parade. On the other hand, someone who's eight, or 10, or so now may, sixty years from now, write about how following Buzz Lightyear's tour of duty on the ISS was a first step to following a career in the sciences - or engineering - or writing about space exploration, so that more people could understand the wonders that start a few miles over our heads.
And, the article was a fun read. For me, anyway.
By the way:
"...NASA also debuted today a game on its website featuring Buzz Lightyear, as well as a second design challenge for students to conduct experiments on the space station."
- "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, NASA, and What's Educational"
(September 17, 2009)
- "Space Shuttle Discovery, Minnesotan, and Buzz Lightyear, in Orbit"
(May 31, 2008)
- ""To Infinity - and Beyond!" Buzz Lightyear Goes Into Space"
(May 29, 2008)