Our programs fall in these areas:
› Elementary and Secondary Education (K - 12)
› Higher Education
› Minority Education Initiatives
› Informal Education
We maintain the Solar System Exploration Education and Public Outreach Forum and the Discovery and New Frontiers Education and Public Outreach Program Office for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. These forums unite the multiple education programs within all the missions spanning NASA's ten Centers across the United States. Programs and activities based on missions exploring our own solar system are combined into the Solar System Exploration Education and Public Outreach Forum
, and education programs based on science investigations that complement NASA's larger planetary science explorations are organized within the Discovery and New Frontiers Education and Public Outreach Program Office
The goal of the Discovery Program is to launch many smaller missions with fast development times, each for a fraction of the cost of NASA's larger missions. The main objective is to enhance our understanding of the Solar System by exploring the planets, their moons, and small bodies such as comets and asteroids. The New Frontiers initiative addresses high-priority investigations identified by the National Academy of Sciences. NASA's first New Frontiers mission is called New Horizons, which will fly by the Pluto-Charon system in 2014, and then target other Kuiper belt objects.
We support the formal and informal education initiatives of JPL's Program Directorates and Project Offices. Most of these education and outreach activities are built on major themes that are broad in scope and include an array of related missions and programs: Earth, Mars, other planets and the Sun in our Solar System, and Stars and Galaxies.
We provide unique educational tools to link NASA content to national and regional educational standards and quality-assurance rubrics to assess the value of educational materials, and we work directly with educational content developers to ensure that their products are accurate, meet standards, and are classroom appropriate.
The Office of Education is a section of the Office of Communication and Education, a division of the JPL Director's Directorate. Our Office maintains the local Educational Resource Center in Pomona, California, which distributes printed and multimedia materials to classroom teachers on request.
Our organization is the principal point of contact at JPL with NASA's Office of Education, and we are responsible for implementing programs of that office that are nation-wide in scope, as well as programs affecting regional communities, from California state-wide to local school districts, and including, internally, JPL scientists and engineers.
The programs of the Education Office bring participants to JPL for periods of time ranging from a few days to ten weeks to two or three years. During their stay, most (but not all) of the participants are here not as JPL employees but as affiliates with the status of Fellows; their stipends are paid by a variety of sponsoring organizations and their purpose at JPL is to conduct research. Programs and activities for students and teachers to get involved with JPL through the Education Office are listed within Elementary and Secondary Education (K - 12), Higher Education, Minority Education, and Informal Education.
Other programs led by JPL's Human Resources Directorate bring participants to JPL as employees to conduct work for pay part-time or full-time for defined periods. For more information about the Academic Part-Time Program, the Cooperative Education Program, and the Summer Program, please go to the employment opportunities web site at http://careerlaunch.jpl.nasa.gov/