Kajang (The Star/ANN) - His days as an astronaut are over but Dr Daniel T. Barry is now circling the globe to share his love for science.
The former Nasa astronaut is in Malaysia until November 3 to conduct workshops to instill a passion for the subject among students.
At a workshop held yesterday, he told his young participants that they should always understand why mistakes happened.
"If everything always works, what do you learn from that? When unexpected stuff comes up, you have a new puzzle to solve and you get to test your understanding," he said.
Dr Barry is here under the invitation of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology. His visit is also in conjunction with the Second Inter Sessional Meeting of The Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council to be chaired by the Prime Minister on Thursday.
One of the participants was Shafique Abdul Razak, 16, who was delighted with the lessons learnt.
"This is more fun than learning in school because we get to play with a toy," he said, referring to the chance to learn how to programme a robotic helicopter to fly.
In George Town, about 15,000 space buffs thronged the inaugural Penang Space Festival with Nasa 2012 at SAINS@USM, Persiaran Bukit Jambul to learn more about astronomy, space science and technology.
The two-day event which ends today is organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia and the Northern Skills Development Centre (NSDC).
It features exhibitions, planetarium shows, talks and competitions.
Two scientists from Nasa - programme executive for operating missions and physics of the cosmos programme (astrophysics division) Jaya Bajpaye and globe instructor jet propulsion laboratory Peter Falcon - also delivered a talk to inspire Malaysians, especially students, to develop an interest in space science.
Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry deputy secretary-general (Science) Prof Paduka Dr Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, who launched the event, said Malaysia had always maintained good working relationships with agencies such as Nasa, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency.
At the event, USM exchanged a memorandum of agreement with NSDC to explore opportunities in astronomy and space science.
NSDC managing director Dr Gunabalan Nadarajah said they were planning to organise the festival annually and establish an astronomy course for the community.
Among the highlights are activities such as star gazing, telescope clinic, amateur telescope making, talks and space art workshop. Admission is free.