Educator Features

Solar System Ambassadors
01.25.06
A map of the United States with stars on it
While more than 150 diplomatic ambassadors represent the United States in countries around the world, more than 450 "solar system ambassadors" are spreading knowledge of the solar system to communities across the nation. These volunteers are part of the Solar System Ambassadors Program, a public outreach effort of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to communicate the excitement of space exploration.

Image to right: Solar system ambassadors are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Credit: NASA

Solar system ambassadors are space enthusiasts who volunteer to organize or attend community events where they talk about recent discoveries and upcoming milestones in space science, and future NASA missions. Featured topics include Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Earth, asteroids, comets, the sun and the universe.

Some ambassadors also write articles for local newspapers and are interviewed by local TV and radio stations.

During training sessions, ambassadors interact with NASA scientists and engineers as they learn about various NASA missions. In December, some ambassadors participated in a conference that focused on spacecraft such as Stardust and Deep Impact that study small bodies in space. Ambassadors are also expected to attend an upcoming workshop on the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

NASA supplies ambassadors with education and outreach materials, such as videos, CDs, booklets, posters, lithographs and online resources.

"Trainings are the key to giving ambassadors the information they need to be effective communicators," said Kay Ferrari, who coordinates the Solar System Ambassador program. "Interacting with mission team members gives the ambassador a more personal perspective on the mission -- one that can be shared with communities across the nation."

For a calendar of upcoming ambassador appearances, or to contact your local ambassador, please visit:
http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador

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Dan Stillman/Institute for Global Environmental Strategies