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Festival to give youth science knowledge

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Some kid-oriented free exhibits will be part of the UFO Festival this year, including a chance for youth to learn a little science mixed with the alien lore.

Dave Dooling, education director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian affiliate in Alamogordo, is coordinating “alien autopsies.” Youth will be able to participate in simulated dissections, learning a bit about scientific inquiry and techniques.

“It’s nothing too gory,” said Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell, one of the primary groups coordinating the festival, to occur July 6-8.

In fact, the intent of the exhibit is to use the lure of aliens to impart a little scientific instruction during the 20-minute sessions, Lay said.

According to the museum’s website, previous dissection simulations for youth have introduced them to the concept of a quarantine facility and explored how the lifeforms from Europa are similar and dissimilar to humans.

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The alien autopsies exhibit is scheduled for July 7, noon to 3 p.m. in the Tascosa Office Machines building on North Main Street.

MainStreet Roswell also has arranged to borrow a specially designed “selfie” astronaut suit from the National Aeronautical Space Administration.

Portions of the back of the space suit, like those used for walks on the moon, have been removed so that it will look as if people are wearing the space suit when they take their photos.

Lay said the selfie station also is meant to get youth thinking about science.

People will be able to take the photos for free at the Fisk Building at the corner of North Main and Fourth streets, which is in the process of being converted into a ice cream store by the building’s new owners. For the festival, the owners plan to host vendors and exhibits, Lay said.

Events for the 71st annual festival will occur at many locations in the city and will be organized by many different groups. They are scheduled to include theater and art events, planetarium shows, interactive experiences, parades and talks by UFO researchers. The official website for the festival is ufofestivalroswell.com.