Friday, March 4, 2016

Feel Good Friday - NASA

If you haven't let election coverage stop you from following the news, you'll know that astronaut Scott Kelly has recently returned to Earth after a year on the International Space Station! That's the inspiration behind today's Feel Good Friday organization - NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA, has a simple vision: "We reach new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of mankind." I mean, it's a pretty simple sentence, though perhaps not so simple to reveal the unknown.

Established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, their first major milestone was sending men to walk on the moon in 1969. Now the Washington, DC based agency is aiming to send human missions to Mars. In addition to the space exploration NASA is known for, they also study climate change and work to improve air transportation right here on Earth.

Why I'm talking about them today is because of all the educational and inspirational information available on their website. The resources for educators are broken down by grade. There is a section for students which includes:
  • a video explaining what you'll see in the March skies
  • Kids' Club page full of information and games (I'm thrilled to say I got a 95% score when loading my rocket for its mission to Mars)
  • a section devoted to women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
An additional Women@NASA site has a variety of outreach programs such as:
  • a video series designed to empower young girls and interest them in STEM careers called  Aspire to Inspire (I only watched one video and am now kind of bummed I'm not an engineer)
  • a program for middle school girls and boys to be mentored by NASA employees via Skype
  • a five-day Summer Institute in Science, Engineering and Research (yes, that sure does spell SISTER) for the purpose of increasing awareness and providing opportunities for middle school girls to explore non-traditional career fields with research scientists, mathematicians and engineers 
  • fact sheets, handouts and video introductions of 64 women working at NASA in all different areas of the organization 
NASA's vision is to benefit mankind and the information on their website and the programs they offer go a long way towards making that vision a reality. Once you've finished clicking on some (or all) of the links, make NASA a more permanent part of your life by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @NASA and @WomenNASA. Now go load a rocket for your Mars mission and let me know how well you do!

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