NASA Audio File

NASA Sends Teachers to Extreme Environments to Help Inspire Next Generation of Space Explorers
NASA is sending dozens of teachers to California State University’s Desert Study Center on the edge of the barren Mojave Desert. There they will conduct real science, side-by-side NASA researchers, in an extreme environment. The goal is for participants to experience, first-hand, NASA-related field science and to use their field work as an opportunity to develop exciting experiments, demonstrations and lesson plans for their students, who will be the next generation of space explorers.

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Chris McKay
Planetary Scientist and Spaceward Bound Lead, NASA Ames

Cut 1 (:31) - We’ve collected a group of teachers from middle schools, science and math teachers.  We’re bringing them out into the field; we’re making part of our science research team.  They’re going to work along with us.  Understand what we’re doing in the field, why we’re doing it.  And the lesson we want them to learn is what it’s like to explore environments that are remote, but interesting, like the Moon, like Mars.  And to take that lesson back into their classrooms, teach it to their students, because those students are going to be the astronauts that are actually going to do that exploration on the Moon and Mars when we finally go there.
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Cut 2 (:19) - The interesting thing about the NASA connection is it’s a nice way to connect to students.  We can say “Look, you can work here on Earth and in field environments and you can connect that to other planets.”  And for some students, at least, it’s a magnet.  It’s a way to attract them into science and math and to see the relevance of science and math.
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Cut 3 (:23) - It’s going to be those students that are going to be the astronauts putting boots on the Moon and even onto Mars.  I’m not going to be around when we are doing that or I’ll certainly be retired, but these students, they’re the future of the space exploration program.  The astronauts that are going to explore Mars and explore the Moon are in middle school now, so we need to get them enthused about field work, we need to start training them.
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