Saturday, June 18, 2011
Just one of the many amazing outreach programs run by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is "Imagine Mars", and it was my great pleasure to get to shake hands with Mars Public Engagement Team member David Delgado when I was at the JPL last week. In all of my photography and coverage of the media events, I'd have to say this was the special one that truly hit home for me!
Perhaps it was because I suspect many people are unaware of the extent of educational outreach performed by NASA centers, and how important it to work with children of all ages, across all regions, to inspire them in scientific endeavours. These are very likely the least known, but most important space agency missions!
NASA's Imagine Mars Project (co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts) is a nationwide arts, sciences and technology education initiative, bringing together scientists, civic leaders and school-children to design a sustainable Mars community for 100 people. Understanding "green efforts" and the health of their own community becomes the students primary research goal.
While presenting all the "Green Tech on the Red Planet" projects in the Imagine Mars program, David introduced an amazing music video called "Bye Bye Earth," created by students in Chicago who had been learning about how we would keep people alive in a Mars colony. Numerous other organizations joined their efforts to help production, and the results were incredible! This video is now available on the NASA.gov website, and on the NASA Youtube Channel:
"It's the greatest example of someone learning something, retaining the information, and expressing it in a way that's meaningful to them. We didn't ask them to go and write a song [or produce music], but they were so excited bout the information that they went and did it anyway!" ~ David Delgado
By the end of the video, and when Solar System Planet Ambassador Pamela Greyer joined David onstage during a standing ovation for their portion of the speakers program that day, there wasn't a dry eye in the house!
These are some of Pam's kids, and she was able to tell us all great stories about her work as K-12 STEM consultant; and the challenges and joys she sees in her everyday efforts as an educator who does her best to inspire children to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical education.
You can also see Pam & David in action during classroom projects on the same channel, in the Imagine Mars Overview clips. There you will also recognize some of the same teens who composed and performed in the "Bye Bye Earth" music video, where they narrate their field trips and school projects, and even software development. What an inspiration!
Pam can be found on Twitter @TheNASALady if you want to follow all her activities at local STEM events, science museums and schools. For all of us who were present, I know we will never forget this inspiring story, and it was an stunning finale to an incredible day! You can see why they saved this for last! :)
Posted by PillowNaut at 10:50 AM