Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Staci Johnson/Sonja Alexander
June 20, 2006
NASA Sends Explorer Schools Teachers Spaceward Bound
NASA is taking teachers to a barren desert in Chile to help inspire the next generation of explorers. The expedition is part of the Spaceward Bound pilot program, which challenges teachers to design and implement real field research.
On Monday, June 19, seven NASA Explorer Schools teachers joined a team of scientists in Chile's Atacama Desert. The teachers, along with planetary experts and technologists demonstrating communications and robot rover technology, will study the border between life and sterility in the arid region, known for similarities to the moon and Mars.
Spaceward Bound is designed to immerse teachers in NASA exploration research through field research. In addition to building their own knowledge, teachers will also work to develop classroom content and new instruction methods, passing the knowledge and inspiration on to their students.
Leading the expedition is planetary expert Chris McKay from NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "The Explorer Schools teachers will be side-by-side with the scientists conducting experiments to increase our understanding of life in extreme environments," McKay said.
A unique aspect of this Atacama field study is the unprecedented level of access students, teachers, and the public will have to the expedition.
"We have provided multiple avenues to join the research team in the Atacama Desert," said Liza Coe, co-principal investigator of the expedition "By visiting the NASA Quest Web site, you can get to know the team by reading their bios and watching their training sessions, or by viewing 360 degree panoramas and interacting with them via webcasts."
There will be two webcasts during the expedition, one in Spanish on Tuesday, June 27 and one in English, Wednesday June 28. Both webcasts start at noon EDT.
Teachers selected for expedition: Matthew Allner, West Middle School, Sioux City, Iowa; Catherine Campbell, Scarlett Middle School, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Geoffrey Hammond, Lake View Elementary School, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Karie Trupka, Circle of Nations School, Wahpeton, N.D.; Koby van Beest, Mascoma Valley Regional High School, Canaan, N.H.; Cherlyn Anderson, Sandhills Middle School, Gaston, S.C.; and Phyllis Krueger, Key Peninsula Middle School, Lakebay, Wash.
Spaceward Bound is funded by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. To learn more about the expedition and view the webcasts, visit: http://quest.nasa.gov/projects/spacewardbound
For information about NASA's Explorer Schools Program, visit: http://explorerschools.nasa.gov
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home
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