Montage of our solar system

Educators will train other teachers to use current space missions to teach their students on Earth math and science, thanks to a program recently expanded by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.

To help implement this cutting-edge education program, known as the Solar System Educators Program, JPL has awarded a $500,000 contract to Space Explorers, Inc., De Pere, WI, and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Hampton, VA.

"This program offers educators hands-on involvement with NASA's solar system missions," said Aimee Whalen, liaison for the program. "They'll have an opportunity to come to JPL and meet the scientists and engineers who are actually working on these missions, then take what they've learned back to the educators and students in their communities."

"This is a great opportunity to work with JPL and educators from all over the country to increase student performance in math and science by using the excitement of space exploration and the power of the Internet," said Eric Brunsell, director of program development for Space Explorers, Inc.

The Solar System Educators Program consolidates educational programs previously offered by three JPL-managed space missions - - the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Stardust mission to a comet. Under the three missions, teachers were trained as educator fellows. Fifty-five educator fellows will be merged into the new Solar System Educators Program, with an additional 25 percent to be added each year starting in 2001. The ultimate goal of the program is to cover all 50 states and U.S. territories and include international involvement.

Cassini, Galileo and Stardust are managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

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