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Press Release 96-63

Sally V. Harrington
NASA Lewis Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-2037)


CLEVELAND, OH—-Students in the Cleveland Public School system will experience a kind of immortality when their signatures travel into space with the Cassini spacecraft in October 1997.

Students in grades 6 through 12 at Orchard Elementary School; Thomas Jefferson, A. B. Hart, Charles Elliott, F. D. Roosevelt, Garrett Morgan, Harry E. Davis and Wilbur Wright Middle Schools; and East Technical, John Hay, John F. Kennedy, and John Ford Rhodes High Schools will be signing their names for submission to NASA’s Signatures in Space program by December 9.

The signatures will be scanned into digital form and placed on a CD-ROM aboard the Cassini spacecraft. The disc, which will hold about a million signatures submitted by the public, is expected to survive well beyond the duration of Cassini’s 11-year mission.

Cleveland Public School students are participating in the Signatures in Space project in conjunction with an exciting science and math enrichment program which focuses on NASA’s upcoming Cassini Mission. NASA Lewis, the Cleveland Public Schools Urban Systemic Initiative and the Greater Cleveland Minority Technology Council are the sponsors of this initiative.

"To go boldly where no signatures have gone before" is the slogan we have adapted from the phrase made popular by the Star Trek series," said Nelson Hare, a teacher at John Hay High School, where they have started collecting signatures. "The students are charged up to see how math plays into science regarding space travel."

The teachers participating in the program have developed a course of study with support from the NASA Lewis Research Center’s Educational Programs Office, NASA Lewis scientists working on the Cassini mission and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Education Office during a series of workshops. The science and math activities developed will be presented to the students in their classes over the next several months. The activities include rocketry, microgravity and space-based astronomy.

"There are many wonderful ways to make the math and science applications from a mission like Cassini real and interesting to students in the classroom," commented Jo Ann Charleston, chief of the Educational Programs Office. "The professional commitment and enthusiasm these teachers have demonstrated in working with the Lewis staff will clearly benefit their students’ long-term academic growth and performance."

Cassini, scheduled for launch on October 6, 1997, is a joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). It will send an atmospheric probe called Huygens to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft will orbit Saturn for four years, gathering data on Saturn, its rings, magnetic environment and moons.

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