Educators from around the country are studying such NASA missions as 2001 Mars Odyssey, currently en route to the red planet, during an institute sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, from Aug. 9 to 11.

Thirty-three educators are participating in the Solar System Educator Program Institute. Most are teachers from kindergarten through high school levels. Others are from museums, science centers or planetariums. All of them come with a strong background in teaching science or math and a passion for training teachers.

This nationwide network of highly motivated educators is at the heart of the program. Each educator agrees to lead at least three workshops per year in their home states. Over the course of a year, the program trains thousands of educators, teaching them ways to incorporate space education into their lesson plans.

"The program goal is to inspire America's students, create learning opportunities and enlighten inquisitive minds by engaging them in the planetary exploration efforts conducted by JPL," said Terri Formico, program coordinator at JPL.

Space Explorers Inc. and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium manage the program for JPL. NASA/JPL missions and programs participating in the institute include the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Stardust and Deep Impact comet missions, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Program, the Outer Planets program and Europa Orbiter mission and the Deep Space Network of ground-based antennas that communicate with spacecraft, the JPL Education and Public Outreach Office and NASA's Solar System Exploration Education and Public Outreach Forum.

News Media Contact

JPL/Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382