Educator Features

Students Celebrate NASA's 45th Anniversary
10.23.03
logo for NASA's 45th anniversary
Students Celebrated Event with Administrator O'Keefe and Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan
On October 1, nearly 200 middle and high school students visited NASA Headquarters to chat with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and Barbara Morgan, the world's first Educator Astronaut, during NASA's 45th anniversary edition of the agency's monthly NASA Update TV show.

Students from Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Benjamin Banneker Senior High School in Washington, Hardy Middle School in Washington, Gonzaga College High School in Washington, and Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, had a chance to ask questions and learn more about the agency, its future explorations, and the many educational opportunities it offers to students across the country.

Administrator O'Keefe opened the event by describing some of the different programs the agency has created in order to foster in America's youth a passion for sciences, technology and mathematics. Among those mentioned were the NASA Explorer Schools Program, the NASA SHARP Program, NASA's Educator Astronaut Program, and the Earth Crew, whose over 40,000 members interact closely with NASA through Web casts and online mission activities. Mr. O'Keefe emphasized to an attentive audience the importance the next generation of explorers holds for the future of NASA and the nation.

Astronaut Morgan joined Mr. O'Keefe onstage for a question and answer session with the students, who came prepared with intelligent, insightful questions. Nicole Pope, a student at Watkins Mill High School, asked,"Why do you feel weightless in orbit even though Earth's gravity is still holding you?"

Jonathan James, a student at Gonzaga College High School, asked Mr. O'Keefe how much time would pass before NASA sends a manned mission to Mars. Another student from Watkins Mill even wanted to know the difference in weight between a cow on the moon and one on Earth! Video cameras moved about the room, capturing every moment of the special event for NASA TV.

The audience showed great enthusiasm and excitement for the rare opportunity to speak with Barbara Morgan and to learn what being an astronaut is really all about. At the end of the program, students were given goodie bags that included NASA stickers, Shuttle lapel pins, Space Shuttle photographs, posters, STS-107 mission patches, and bookmarks to keep as memoirs of their participation in such an historic event - NASA's 45th Anniversary.

For more information on the Internet about NASA's 45th Anniversary activities and the history of the agency, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/NASA45th/loadmovie.html