NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California State University, Northridge (CSUN) will bring the scientific resources of NASA's prime center for robotic exploration of the solar system and the educational capabilities of one of California's largest state universities together to provide scientific and technological information to students and educators.

The MOU will be signed on Wednesday, May 21, at 11 a.m. Pacific time, at The University Club at CSUN. Signing the document will be Larry Dumas, deputy director of JPL, and Blenda Wilson, president of CSUN. The university is located at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge, CA.

As part of the agreement, JPL will:

Communicate to CSUN the results of JPL/NASA's most recent Earth and space science studies.

Provide opportunities for CSUN teacher enrichment at JPL.

Support the development and evaluation of readily accessible data repositories for space and Earth science educational materials.

Investigate ways in which graphics, audio and video information can be delivered more effectively over the Internet.

Work with designated CSUN professionals to carry out mutually agreed upon program activities.

Within the agreement, CSUN has agreed to:

Work with JPL to develop space and Earth science curriculum materials.

Work with JPL professionals to carry out mutually agreed upon activities.

CSUN has been working with JPL in the pilot phase of Project SUN (Students Understanding Nature), a worldwide network of detectors operated by students that monitor ultraviolet and continuous flux of solar radiation at the Earth's surface. The network currently has schools in the U.S. and internationally. CSUN will now work with JPL to greatly expand the program to produce a more extensive worldwide database including many more schools. Each school will be encouraged to act as a node of a worldwide data collection network. Data gathered by students are being used by JPL in helping to learn more about the Earth surface environment.

Future joint projects include the incorporation of data from the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT), an instrument flying aboard Japan's Advanced Earth Observing Satellite that measures the speed and direction of near-surface winds over the global ocean. A new worldwide network will be formed with CSUN to allow students to do research into early indications of the El Nino weather pattern. Additionally, data from JPL's detectors within the Southern California Integrated Global Positioning System Network will involve students and educators from the CSUN geology department in learning about local seismic activity.

"By working together, JPL and CSUN can align our resources," said Dr. Adrian Herzog, chairman of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at CSUN. "This partnership will give us the vehicle by which we can do a number of mutually beneficial joint projects. We can offer assistance to JPL in the form of researchers and college credit to participating students, while JPL can offer the scientific expertise and information available to them as a national laboratory for NASA."

Nearly 70 percent of licensed California teachers are graduates of institutions within the California State University system. By working directly with CSUN, JPL will strive to provide future California K-12 educators with the tools necessary to give students a better understanding of current science, data and technology.

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