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It's Official. Mars is Now a Career Opportunity!
Administrator O'Keefe in a Boliver, TN classroom
Administrator O'Keefe fields questions from the students of Bolivar Elementary School in Bolivar, TN, during his visit on March 9
Strike up the band and roll out the red carpet! The nation's space agency is coming to a NASA Explorer School near you.

During the months of March, April and May, NASA is sending its finest to speak with students and teachers at NASA Explorer Schools across the country about the new Vision for Space Exploration outlined by President Bush in January. One hundred schools were selected in 2003 and 2004 to work with NASA to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to prepare future engineers and scientists.

The nation is poised to carry out our new Vision for Space Exploration - namely, returning humans to the Moon, and eventually, journeying to Mars and other places in our solar system. As an important stepping stone to our achieving dreams of exploring the universe, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and other NASA officials are sharing the message that NASA needs talented and educated people from every background to fill the jobs of the future, among them engineers, scientists, astronauts, technicians, and astronomers.

NASA administrators, astronauts, and education specialists are talking with students across the country about NASA's plans for future explorations and answering questions about the essential roles that the next generation of explorers can play in our vision for space exploration. Eager students are quizzing their visitors with questions about living and working in space, what it's like to launch into space onboard a powerful spacecraft, and about the recent landings of rovers on Mars.

Dryden Center Director Kevin Petersen at Flagstaff school
Students from Flagstaff Middle School in Arizona talked with Kevin Petersen, director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center during a visit to the school Feb. 17
"Right now, tomorrow's space explorers are seated in America's classrooms -- asking questions, solving problems and conducting experiments," O'Keefe said in a recent visit to a NASA Explorer School in Bolivar, Tennessee. "As we work to carry the new vision forward, we remain committed to working closely with our schools to foster learning environments that will inspire young people to venture to the Moon, to Mars and beyond."

The 2003 and 2004 NASA Explorer Schools Teams represent 46 states. Eighty percent of the schools are located in high poverty areas, with 77 percent representing predominantly minority communities.

"NASA's mission is to inspire the next generation of explorers by helping to make learning science and math more fun," said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, NASA's Associate Administrator for Education. "The NASA Explorer Schools Program will provide us with yet another promising avenue to positively and uniquely impact science and math instruction in the Nation's classrooms as only NASA can," she said.

Astronaut Lee Morin at Flagstaff school
Students and teachers from Flagstaff Middle School and DeMiguel Elementary School in Flagstaff, AZ, learned firsthand about space travel from astronaut Lee Morin
What is a NASA Explorer School (NES)?

Each year, the NASA Explorer Schools program establishes a three-year partnership between NASA and 50 school teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators from diverse communities across the country.

While partnered with the agency, NASA Explorer Schools teams acquire and use new teaching resources and technology tools for grades 4 - 9 using NASA's unique content, experts and other resources. Schools in the program are eligible to receive funding (pending budget approval) over the three-year period to purchase technology tools that support science and mathematics instruction.

The NASA Explorer School program provides wonderful opportunities for schools, administrators, students and their families to partner with NASA to improve student learning; participate in authentic experiences with NASA science and technology; apply NASA science, mathematics, and technology knowledge to real-world issues and problems; and, participate in special events and other opportunities.

The benefits, to NASA, the Nation, and the world of engaging students in scientific and engineering adventures cannot be overstated. By stimulating their imaginations and creativity and by meaningfully communicating the significance of NASA's discoveries and developments to them, we expect to improve the scientific and technological literacy of our young people and inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering.

For additional information about NASA Explorer Schools, please visit:

To check out what schools NASA will visit in March, April, and May, please visit:
School Visits Schedule

To request a NASA visit to your school, please visit: