One sad consequence of these budget-crunched times is that kids can’t really dream of being astronauts anymore. This Thursday at Johns Hopkins, the crew of the second-to-last NASA space shuttle can let you know how it feels to spacewalk — and to be the last shuttle crew members to get that chance.

If it’s the science that compels you, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Endeavour’s mission was “to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2  — a particle physics detector that searches for various types of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays” to the International Space Station. The ultimate goal:  evidence of the universe’s most elusive stuff (dark matter, antimatter, and strange matter).  Or maybe you just want to hear about how it feels to eat in space. Either way, the crew will be on hand to show a video presentation about the mission, and to answer questions from the audience.

For additional poignancy, the astronauts include Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Come see these final few spacewalkers this Thursday, August 4 at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy from 6:30 to 9 PM. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available in the Muller parking deck (off San Martin Drive).