NASA to Fund Innovative Museum Exhibits and Planetarium Shows

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May 12, 2010

PASADENA, Calif. -- Innovative planetarium shows and traveling museum exhibits are among nine projects NASA has selected to receive agency funding this year. NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums will provide $7 million in grants to enhance educational outreach related to space exploration, aeronautics, space science, Earth science and microgravity.

This year's grants to nine informal education providers range from approximately $177,000 to $1.25 million and have a maximum five-year performance period. The projects are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Washington. The selected projects will work with NASA's Shared Services Center in Mississippi to complete the business review necessary before a NASA award is issued.

"Science centers and planetariums contribute significantly to engaging people of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math," said James Stofan, acting associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education. "NASA wants to give the informal education community access to a variety of agency staff and resources while offering professional development opportunities for informal science educators and encouraging the formation of collaborative partnerships."

The selected organizations will partner with NASA's Museum Alliance, an Internet-based, national network of more than 400 science and nature centers, planetariums, museums, aquariums, zoos and related organizations. The projects will engage the public and educators by providing NASA-inspired space, science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning opportunities.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., leads the Museum Alliance for the agency. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA. More information about the Museum Alliance is online at: http://informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum.

Congress initiated the Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums in 2008. The first group of projects began in 2009. NASA's Office of Education and agency mission directorates collaborated to solicit and review the grant applications. A list of the newly-selected projects is at: http://nspires.nasaprs.com . Click on "Selected Proposals" and look for Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums.

More information about NASA's education programs is at: http://www.nasa.gov/education.

Mark Petrovich 818-393-4359
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Mark.petrovich@jpl.nasa.gov

Sonja Alexander 202-358-1761
NASA Headquarters, Washington
sonja.r.alexander@nasa.gov

Ann Marie Trotta 202-358-1600
NASA Headquarters, Washington
ann.marie.trotta@nasa.gov

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