Montage of our solar system

The hunt is on for at least 40 additional science educators to share the thrill of solar system exploration with America's communities through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Solar System Ambassador Program.

The new recruits will help introduce the public to JPL's present and future missions to explore our solar system neighborhood. These missions include Cassini en route to Saturn, Galileo currently orbiting Jupiter, Stardust on its way to a comet rendezvous, as well as Europa Orbiter, Pluto-Kuiper Express, Solar Probe, Genesis, Ulysses, Voyager, and the Deep Space Network.

"By interacting face-to-face with people in their own backyards, the ambassadors personalize the space program," said David Schranck, ambassador program coordinator.

The volunteers will interact with JPL scientists, engineers, and project team members in high-tech teleconference/online training sessions. They'll soak up knowledge about such themes as "Water in the Solar System," "Life in the Solar System" and "Ringed Planets." The ambassadors will then carry their newfound knowledge back to their own neighborhoods, where they'll launch four public events per year with museums, planetariums and community groups.

This spread-the-word program began with the Galileo Ambassadors to Jupiter, a venture that has brought tantalizing discoveries about Jupiter and its moons to more than 250,000 people in the past year through public, hometown events. The new ambassadors will join forces with 84 current volunteers from 38 states.

It's helpful, but not essential, for applicants to have a formal or informal science or teaching background. The application deadline is May 17, 1999. Details about the announcement of opportunity and online applications forms are available on the web at .

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