Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reading, Riting, Rithmetic, Rockets?

You know me...I.Heart.Space. And, I also, love raising awareness about manned spaceflight [just look over there --------> at my sidebar thingy!]. So, I thought I would introduce you to a little organization that is aiming to get school-age kids interested in careers that require math and science [i.e. Aerospace Engineer :-)].



In order to appreciate this, you must forget all...well, most...of my opinions about manned spaceflight and NASA, because this new batch of teacher-astronauts are preparing to traverse the skies via private company spaceflight. The organization is called "Teachers in Space." Their goals include: 1) make it possible for large numbers of teachers to explore space 2) return Astronaut-Teachers to American classrooms and 3) provide teachers opportunities to impact the next generation by sharing their experiences, knowledge, and adventure. Their leaders include some of my role-models, Don McMahon and Colleen Howard. And their Board of Advisors includes such Aerospace Celebrities as Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Burt Rutan. And folks, they are really going for it.

NASA's previous teacher-in-space program did not materialize into it's original vision: to fly teachers in space and return them to the classrooms to inspire the next generation in the fields of math and science. Challenger exploded in 1986, killing the first teacher-in-space candidate. It took her back-up, Barbara Morgan, 12 years to convince NASA to let her fly, and in 1998 she became the first teacher-astronaut. But not all was well. You see Morgan had to give up her teaching career in order to complete the training necessary to fly as a shuttle astronaut.

The new "Teachers in Space" program aims at getting the teachers back in the classrooms with minimum training requirements, for maximum results. And inspiring the next generation of "Nerdy Aprils" ...well, I'm always on board for that :-)

And PS: The organization just announced on July 12 that they are taking applications for their next batch of teacher-astronauts! Tell all your teachers to apply!