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Tuesday, September 6, 2016
|September 06, 2016 |
NASA Awards Grants to Inspire Mars Generation of Explorers, Scientists
NASA is awarding approximately $3 million in grants to three informal education organizations to help inspire the next generation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers as the agency progresses on its Journey to Mars.
The selected organizations are:
The selected projects will create a new Mars exploration exhibit, offer educator professional development on space science topics and engineering technology, pilot Mars-themed lesson plans in regional school districts, expand regional afterschool and summer camp opportunities, and develop community programs related to space exploration.
"Museums and out-of-school time providers are in a unique position to provide STEM engagement through hands-on experiences," said Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education in Washington. "NASA supports experiences that engage with STEM topics in personally meaningful ways."
The proposals were selected through a peer-review process for NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities. In June, NASA announced the first nine proposals selected from the 73 applications received through this opportunity. The newly-selected projects range in value from approximately $600,000 to $1.25 million. Organizations will implement their proposals over the next one to five years, depending on their project.
Projects selected this year will extend the reach of these organizations across the United States through partnerships with other museums, K-12 and higher education institutions, hospitals and industry to create exhibits, educational programming and curriculum, and immersive multi-media and hands-on, inquiry-based activities. The goal of these efforts is to enhance critical-thinking skills, engineering and science literacy, and prepare the next generation for careers in STEM fields. Many projects will focus on providing opportunities to youth in populations that are historically underrepresented in STEM professions.
The selected organizations will collaborate with NASA's Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of informal education professionals at more than 700 science museums, planetariums, Challenger Centers, youth-serving organizations, camps, libraries, nature centers, aquariums, zoos and visitor centers at NASA facilities, observatories and parks. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created and manages the Museum Alliance for the agency.
For more information on the 2015 Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities, visit:
For more information on NASA's education programs, visit:
CONTRACT RELEASE 16-093
NASA's Record-breaking Astronaut, Crewmates Safely Return to Earth
NASA astronaut and Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams returned to Earth Tuesday after his U.S. record-breaking mission aboard the International Space Station.
Williams and his Russian crewmates Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, landed in their Soyuz TMA-20M at 9:13 p.m. EDT southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan (7:13 a.m. Sept. 7, local time).
Having completed his fourth mission, Williams now has spent 534 days in space, making him first on the all-time NASA astronaut list. Skripochka now has 331 days in space on two flights, while Ovchinin spent 172 days in space on his first.
"No other U.S. astronaut has Jeff's time and experience aboard the International Space Station. From his first flight in 2000, when the station was still under construction, to present day where the focus is science, technology development and fostering commercialization. Jeff even helped prepare the space station for future dockings of commercial spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Crew Program," said Kirk Shireman, ISS Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We're incredibly proud of what Jeff has accomplished off the Earth for the Earth."
Williams was instrumental in preparing the station for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. The first International Docking Adapter was installed during a spacewalk by Williams and fellow NASA astronaut Kate Rubins Aug. 19. Outfitted with a host of sensors and systems, the adapter's main purpose is to connect spacecraft bringing astronauts to the station in the future. Its first users are expected to be Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, now in development in partnership with NASA.
During his time on the orbital complex, Williams ventured outside the confines of the space station for a second spacewalk with Rubins to retract a spare thermal control radiator and install two new high-definition cameras.
Together, the Expedition 48 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity's only orbiting laboratory.
The crew members also welcomed five cargo spacecraft during their stay. Williams was involved in the grapple of Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft in March, the company's fourth commercial resupply mission, and SpaceX's eighth Dragon spacecraft cargo delivery in April, and welcomed a second Dragon delivery in July. Two Russian ISS Progress cargo craft also docked to the station in April and July delivering tons of supplies.
Expedition 49 continues operating the station with Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos in command. He, Rubins, and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will operate the station for more than two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.
Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch Sept. 23, U.S. time, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Check out the full NASA TV schedule and video streaming information at:
Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:
Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter at:
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