JPL Participates in Two Community Events This Weekend

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March 27, 2003

On Sunday, March 30, JPL will join several companies and museums at the "Celebra la Ciencia" science fair at San Fernando Recreation Park, 208 Park Ave., in San Fernando. The mission of Celebra la Ciencia, which means celebrate science, is to increase awareness among Hispanic youth and parents of science opportunities and activities.

The event is in conjunction with the 10th annual Cesar Chavez commemoration. Hours are from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Students from San Fernando and urban schools in South Central and East Los Angeles will have opportunities to design and build their own working robots, launch rockets and participate in a variety of other hands-on activities and exhibits from museums and institutions from across Los Angeles.

The event will include information on NASA's missions to search for planets, particularly Earth-like planets, around other stars. The ultimate goal of the missions is to answer the age-old question: Are we alone? The missions include the Terrestrial Planet Finder, Space Interferometry Mission and Keck Interferometer.

The Celebra la Ciencia program comes at a time of regional and national concern about low science test scores among Hispanic students. Results from the 2002 California Standards Test showed that only 5 percent of Hispanic high school students were rated as proficient in science. Thirty-three percent fell into the below or far-below basic performance categories, the lowest in the five-tier scoring system.

Further information on the Celebra la Ciencia, science fair is available at http://www.celebralaciencia.org . Information on JPL's planet-finding missions is available at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/ .

On Saturday, March 29 and 30, JPL will participate in the Pasadena Cherry Blossom Festival at Victory Park, 2575 Paloma St., in Pasadena.

The festival celebrates Japanese and Japanese-American cultural arts and history. Its goal is to raise scholarship funds for students in the Pasadena school system and surrounding communities for cross-cultural education trips to Japan. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A JPL display and activity will feature NASA's Stardust mission, which will fly by a comet in January 2004, collect samples of comet dust and return them to Earth. Participants will be able to see aerogel, the world's lightest solid, which is being used on Stardust to capture the comet dust.

The festival will feature arts and crafts, cultural demonstrations, martial arts demonstrations, entertainment, a fashion show, food and exhibits. On Sunday, there will be a parade from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Cherry Blossom Festival information is at www.pasadenacherryblossom.org.
Information on JPL's Stardust mission is available at http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov.

JPL/Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382
2003-042



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