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For Release: September 17, 2004

Sallie A. Keith
Media Relations Office


NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) team members will talk with students and teachers at Scarlett Middle School, part of a NASA Explorer School team in Ann Arbor, Mich., during a live one-hour satellite link videoconference on September 21, at 1 p.m. EDT.

The Desert RATS team is in the field near Flagstaff, Ariz., testing spacesuits and communication's equipment designed to support future planetary exploration in conditions similar to those found on the Moon and Mars. This event is one in a series that is being coordinated and webcast by the Digital Learning Network (DLN) teams at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, and Johnson Space Center, Houston, to connect students from eight NASA Explorer Schools with Desert RATS scientists and engineers.

"Today's students are the explorers of tomorrow," stated Theresa Scott, program manager for Glenn's DLN. "They will be the ones living out NASA's Vision for Space Exploration and they will be doing it with equipment like that being tested here today."

Students will engage in a number of pre-program activities related to how spacesuits work and the tasks that astronauts perform while space walking. They will also participate in activities designed to introduce them to communications systems by learning how signals are broadcast over long distances and to the potential use of lunar resources in future exploration.

During the program students will be able to interact with researchers in the Arizona high desert and discover some of the methods NASA uses to prepare for future planetary exploration. They will discuss the reasons for and benefits of field testing, the challenges of communicating in space and the design of prototype spacesuits. Students will also discover how experiments are designed and conducted in space.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools team was selected as a NASA Explorer School in May, 2004. Each year the NASA Explorer School program establishes a three-year partnership between NASA and 50 school teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators from diverse communities across the country. Focusing on underserved populations, NASA Explorer Schools join educators, students and families in sustained involvement with NASA's research, discoveries and missions.

The DLN offers videoconferencing or webcasting at no charge, providing interactive educational experiences to students and educators across the Nation and around the world.Through the DLN, learners at all levels have the opportunity to interact directly with NASA experts, often from their workplace, to gain a new appreciation for the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

For more information on this event and to log on to the webcast, visit:

For information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA's education programs on the Internet, visit:



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