Education: January 2011 Archives

Interview with the Challenger Center's Scott Parazynski, Space News

"Some 4 million students have been through the program since 1986, and in recent years the annual average has been about 400,000. Scott Parazynski, a NASA astronaut and medical doctor who took over in November as chairman of the center's board of directors, wants to increase that number to 4 million per year by 2015. ...

Parazynski: "One of the things we're aspiring to do is reduce the barriers to entry. So to help communities that might otherwise not have access to a learning center, we will develop virtual missions led by Challenger Center flight directors remotely, using a school's computer laboratory as an example. Alternatively, we also hope to bring in portable learning centers that we would truck in from a distant location."

"On January 28, 1986, our nation lost seven heroes as the Challenger Space Shuttle was destroyed shortly after launch. It was a tragic day, etched in the minds of us all and in the history books of our nation. And yet tragedy let to triumph, as the families of the astronauts created an educational program to honor the astronauts and inspire the next generation. They formed the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, with a mission to "inspire, explore and learn". Now with a national network of 48 Challenger Learning Centers, the program takes students on simulated missions to space, reaching 400,000 students every year - over 4,000,000 during our 25 year history. Join us for a year-long series of events, as we honor the legacy of the Challenger 7 heroes - and celebrate the accomplishments of the Challenger Learning Center network."

For more information on the Challenger Center for Space Science Education please go to

Challenger Center Board Member Richard Garriott, private space explorer, salutes Challenger Center from the International Space Station.

A Worldwide Game of "Telephone" Distorts NASA Meeting, Planetary Society

"Such failures in truth-telling are pernicious and, now that the Internet can spread falsehoods as fast as electrons can travel through wires and electromagnetic signals can travel through the air, they are nearly impossible to stop. This particular falsehood spread like an Internet game of "Telephone," where each time another reporter repeated the misconception, it morphed into something even farther from reality and more damaging."

Keith's note: I asked NASA PAO - more than once - for clarification on this event and no one ever got back to me. No one from PAO reached out to me to try and correct the record or comment on the articles I linked to from NASA Watch. Moreover, I do not see any clarification by JPL PAO here , or here

If NASA JPL PAO is as outraged as it would seem that they are, then where's their clarification about this event? I can't find it. Instead of complaining about "bad reporting" JPL PAO needs to get off their posteriors and respond to email inquiries and be a little more proactive. It has been more than 2 weeks since this "story" went viral. If indeed this was all "damaging" as JPL's semi-official cheeleaders at the Planetary Society suggest, then someone should have tried to do something much more prominent, and do so a lot sooner - and not leave it to someone else to do well after the "damage" has been done.

JPL's Bad Movie Pick For 2010: "2012", NASA Watch's earlier contribution to this evil viral damage done to JPL.

NASA Invites Public To Vote On Optimus Prime Contest Student Videos

"NASA has opened online voting for the agency's OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award student video contest. The public is invited to vote for its favorite videos, made by students in grades three through eight, developed to help educate America's youth about the benefits of NASA's technologies. NASA is using the correlation between Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS property and commercialized agency "spinoffs" to help students understand how technology developed for space and aeronautics "transforms" into what is used on Earth. More than 190 children from 31 states have submitted creative videos describing their favorite agency technology from NASA's 2009 Spinoff publication. The students also documented why their video should be selected to win the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME trophy."

What is a Galaxy? Cast Your Vote Here

"Our aim here is to promote further discussion of how to define a galaxy and, in particular, what separates it from a star cluster. Like most previous definitions, we adopt the requirement of a gravitationally bound stellar system as a minimum ... we give our favoured criteria, and in the spirit of a 'collective wisdom', invite readers to vote on their preferred definition of a galaxy via a dedicated website. ... In order to capture the thoughts of a wider audience about how to define a galaxy, we invite readers to vote. This 'collective wisdom' or 'crowd-sourcing' will be captured in an online poll. The poll allows one to choose the single best criterion or multiple criteria. Results of the poll will be reported from time to time at future astronomy conferences."

Gabrielle Giffords Earth and Space Leadership Fund: Support future leaders in Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering and Policy.

"To honor the victims of the recent tragedy in Tucson and their families, we have started a fund in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' name to support future leaders in earth and space sciences, engineering and policy. In her 112th Congress swearing-in speech, Gabby talked about the need for leadership. She also strongly supports earth and space sciences, as well as technology innovations and public policy that benefit our nation. Gabby is to administer the fund, which is intended to help develop America's leadership in these critical areas through a range of activities, sponsorships and support for students."

Welsh donors praised for helping preserve Scott hut, BBC

"In 1910 Scott relied heavily on school children to fund his expedition, with schools sponsoring a sledge dog or set of skis, in return for the honour of having their name transported to the very bottom of the world. A century later and Mr Stuart Smith says youngsters have once again been among the campaign's most generous and enthusiastic supporters, though ecology rather than exploration now seems to be their main motivation. "I think now as then, children can identify with Scott's sense of adventure," he said."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from January 2011.

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