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Michael Mewhinney
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-3937, 650/604-9000
E-mail: mmewhinney@mail.arc.nasa.gov

November 1, 2005
 
RELEASE : 05_58AR
 
 
NASA Ames and SpaceWorld Team to Inspire, Involve and Inform
 
 
NASA and the SpaceWorld Foundation today signed an agreement that will dramatically enhance the visitor experience at the present Ames-based NASA Exploration Center while paving the way for a future SpaceWorld at Hangar One.

Under terms of the three-year collaborative partnership, the SpaceWorld Foundation will develop space-related themes, content and exhibits for the NASA Exploration Center, while Ames Research Center will continue to provide staffing and other in-kind services for the facility. Current plans call for the NASA Exploration Center to remain open, as presently configured, for approximately 18 months. Then, after a short refurbishment period, the facility will re-launch as "SpaceWorld at NASA" in mid 2007 with its brand new look and format.

"The NASA Ames/SpaceWorld collaboration will dramatically enhance what is already an outstanding venue for Bay Area residents and visitors," said Sally Ride, a member of the SpaceWorld Foundation Board and America's first woman in space. "I am confident that it will inspire young girls and boys, in particular, and give them a chance to experience first-hand fascinating, real-world applications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is truly exciting."

"We have been extremely gratified by the public's overwhelming support for our Exploration Center, which was opened to coincide with the Jan. 4, 2004 landing of the Mars rover Spirit. But it is now time to take things to the next level," said NASA Ames Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. "We intend to showcase the Vision for Space Exploration and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be full participants in the journey to explore our universe," he said.

In 2002, NASA and the SpaceWorld Foundation, then known as the California Air and Space Education Foundation, initiated plans to develop a SpaceWorld-type facility in historic Hangar One on the NASA Ames property. Those plans had to be put on hold pending the Navy's resolution of a variety of environmental issues in the hangar. The Navy is currently evaluating its remediation options and is expected to announce its decision regarding the hangar's future very soon.

"The signing of the NASA Ames/SpaceWorld agreement is a tremendous start toward our future goal of launching 'SpaceWorld at Hangar One,'" said Cliff Jernigan, chairman of the board of the SpaceWorld Foundation. "Developing content for, and then operating, SpaceWorld at NASA will provide a wealth of experience for our foundation and those organizations that we hope will join us, while offering a bold, new destination spot for local residents and visitors alike."

The NASA Exploration Center encompasses approximately 9,300 square feet of exhibit space, and currently features an SGI immersive theater, the largest on the West Coast; an Apollo 16 moon rock; NASA Ames-developed robotic rover prototypes; and other technology-related displays. The center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., PST and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., PST. It is closed on Mondays and federal holidays. Admission is free. The NASA Exploration Center hosted nearly 150,000 visitors during its first full year of operation.

The SpaceWorld Foundation was created with two primary goals in mind: to develop a state-of-the-art, hands-on, interactive learning center for young and old alike, while protecting and effectively re-using the historic Hangar One facility at NASA Ames. In addition to offering an enhanced visitor experience, the foundation plans to develop educational programs in response to academic and professional trends. More and more technical professions demand astute math and science skills, which experience suggests cannot be developed solely in a classroom setting. One of SpaceWorld's key missions is to inspire the youth of today, with an emphasis on programs that resonate with girls and boys, encourage them to engage in math and science study, and help prepare them for the professions of tomorrow.

Additional information about the SpaceWorld Foundation is available at:

http://www.spaceworldfoundation.org/



For further information about NASA and its programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/



 

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