7 Incredible NASA Corn Mazes: Cool Crop Circles for Science

by Nancy Atkinson on September 13, 2011

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An amazing corn maze with a NASA theme, at Cornbelly's in Lehi, Utah, one of seven around the US in 2011. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc.

Imagine looking out your airplane window (or alien spacecraft portal) and seeing a giant Mars Exploration Rover or an astronaut a half-kilometer long etched in …. a corn field? That’s exactly what is happening this fall, as seven farms across the US are participating in a special collaboration with NASA called Space Farm 7 to celebrate the space agency’s achievements and progress in space, as well as providing education and activities about agriculture. The farmers have created some absolutely amazing and intricate crop-circle-like formations that double as corn mazes, giving kids and families the chance to get lost — if you will — in space.

“You don’t always see an astronaut in a corn field,” said Adam Pugh from The Rock Ranch in Georgia, who approached NASA last year with the idea, “and there’s not an obvious connection between corn and NASA. But I thought it would be cool if we could work with NASA and highlight some of the NASA anniversaries going on and use our cornfield as an outdoor classroom to re-enthuse the new generation of youth about space exploration and get them fired up about looking towards the stars.”

Take a look at these awesome corn mazes, all unique and with a special NASA theme.

NASA-themed corn maze at Belvedere Plantation in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Image courtesy The MAiZE Inc.

“I’ve got kids that are nine-, four- and two- years old,” said Pugh, talking with Universe Today from the agri-tourism farm he operates, “and the only thing they know about astronauts is Buzz Lightyear. I felt it would be great if we could teach kids about the real astronauts and the real heroes that have done so much through space exploration to give us things we enjoy today like cell phones, solar panels and all the great things that space exploration has given to us.”

The farms that are part of Space Farm 7 create corn mazes every year, as part of their harvest-time autumn festivities, Pugh said, and this year seven farms have a space-themed maze. “Most of the places started as pumpkin patches or small farms and have all gotten into agri-tourism, an increasingly popular idea which uses an agricultural setting as a place for education or tourism. It’s all part of a growing trend of people buying local for their produce, meats and dairy products.”

Corn maze at Dell'Osso Farms in Lathrop, California. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc.

Pugh said farmers have noticed a disconnect between today’s youth and agriculture. “We have kids coming on our field trips who have no idea where milk or eggs come from – they just think they come from the store,” he said. “But real effort and skill goes into creating the food that we all enjoy. Our purpose is to not only entertain these folks and get them to spend quality time together and exercise but also educate them and help them realize where their food comes from.”

The SpaceFarm 7 celebration is very timely as this year NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first American in space, the 30th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission and the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment in space.
NASA has ten regional research centers located in the United States, and the individual Space Farms have each been paired up with their nearest space center in order to highlight that region’s contribution to NASA.

NASA-themed corn maze at Dewberry Farm in Brookshire, Texas. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc

Layla Dowdy from NASA’s Public Affairs Office said NASA is supporting this awesome outreach project with exhibits, and speakers, as well as an online national contest where winners earn a visit to Kennedy Space Center and the chance to dine with an astronaut. To enter, visit www.spacefarm7.com and vote on your favorite of the seven maze designs. A winner will be randomly selected at the end of October.

The celebrations at each of the farms will include a visiting astronaut or other NASA officials, as well as activities such as hobby-rocket launches, hands-on space education activities, and demonstrations from local astronomy clubs, in addition to the regular activities the agri-tourism farms have.

“We’re providing all sorts of neat opportunities for families to experience space exploration, in ways which are normally not accessible unless you travel to Houston or Kennedy Space Center,” Pugh said. “We’re bringing the education materials to people all over the US, and our shared objective with NASA is to reach 1 million kids.”

“We just want to encourage families to get outdoors and enjoy quality time together,” Pugh added. “Our whole purpose is to be good stewards of the land and share that with folks.”

Activities at The Rock Ranch include zip lines, paddle boats, pony rides and other fun outdoor activities where people can “enjoy nature and farmland,” Pugh said.

Corn maze at Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc

The mazes typically average 8 acres in size, said Kamille Combs from The MAiZE Inc, a company that helps farmers design and create their corn mazes.

Combs provided the opening dates for the 7 mazes across the US:

The Rock Ranch; The Rock, GA; Sept. 24
Cornbelly’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Fest; Lehi, UT; Sept. 30
Dewberry Farm; Brookshire, TX; Sept. 24
Liberty Ridge Farm; Schaghticoke, NY; Sept. 17
Belvedere Plantation; Fredericksburg, VA; Oct. 1
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch; Gretna, NE; Sept. 17
Dell’ Osso Farms; Lathrop, CA; Oct. 1

Look for more information on the Space Farm 7 website and get out and enjoy the mazes if one is near you.

Corn maze at The Rock Ranch; The Rock, Georgia. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc

Corn maze at Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, Nebraska. Image courtesty of The MAiZE Inc

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

David Polák September 14, 2011 at 12:35 AM

This is bloody amazing…

Alex Hall September 14, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Here, here, this is extremely amazing!

Kevin Kammueller September 15, 2011 at 7:14 AM
Alex Hall September 14, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Here, here, this is extremely amazing!

Steve September 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

um… Hubble is looking down, away from the stars and galaxies.

But this is way cool! I’ll be at the Dell’Osso Farms maze :)

Bharath Purtipli September 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Exactly..

brianb September 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Asians are mastering calculus before they’re teens and our kids don’t know where eggs and milk come from?

Autumn September 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I’ll be at Vala’s at some time this fall :D

Autumn September 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I’ll be at Vala’s at some time this fall :D

Chuck Lee September 14, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I find it hard to believe that the corn and the dirt are exactly the same color in so many various places in the country. Please, someone explain this phenomenon

Derek September 14, 2011 at 11:58 PM

haha good call. these are probably initial simulations of the mazes before they were cut.

Derek September 14, 2011 at 11:58 PM

haha good call. these are probably initial simulations of the mazes before they were cut.

Derek September 14, 2011 at 11:58 PM

haha good call. these are probably initial simulations of the mazes before they were cut.

MRCAB September 19, 2011 at 5:45 AM

REDRUM! REDRUM!

miriam chevchenko September 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM

These aren’t even real pictures. They certainly have nothing to do with the genuine “crop circle” phenomenon, so why even call them that, Universe Today? Sounds like propaganda to me.

For an overview of the evidence against a prosaic explanation for real crop glyphs, see:
http://www.controversial-science.com/

miriam chevchenko September 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM

These aren’t even real pictures. They certainly have nothing to do with the genuine “crop circle” phenomenon, so why even call them that, Universe Today? Sounds like propaganda to me.

For an overview of the evidence against a prosaic explanation for real crop glyphs, see:
http://www.controversial-science.com/

James September 27, 2011 at 3:34 AM

I google earthed each of these and NONE of them exist.

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