Ann Hutchison
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281-483-5111)

Release: J00-12

Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the RMS Titanic, along with former
astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan, will take students throughout the country
on a virtual tour exploring the realms of inner and outer space.

The Johnson Space Center will co-host a series of live interactive
broadcasts during this year’s JASON XI Project, “Going to Extremes.” The
project will explore two platforms, one in space and one under water,
that enable humans to go beyond their physical limitations to explore
the unknown and ask the question “why?.”

JSC’s unique Mockup and Integration Facility and its Neutral Buoyancy
Laboratory, where astronauts train for space flight, will be the sites
of the NASA broadcasts beginning February 28. The broadcasts will
continue weekdays through March 10 at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30
p.m. and 3 p.m. in JSC’s Teague Auditorium.

The JASON Project is a year-round scientific expedition founded by
Ballard in 1989 designed to excite and engage students in grades 4
through 9 in science and technology. The project also provides
professional development to teachers.

During the expedition, participants will take a “tour” of the
International Space Station to learn how astronauts will live while
carrying out critical research. Host researchers at JSC include
Astronaut Bill Shepherd, commander of the first crew scheduled to live
aboard the new International Space Station. The host researchers
demonstrate hardware, operate systems in mockups-trainers, and deliver
some of the instructional content. –

Live broadcasts also will originate from the National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Administration’s Aquarius underwater laboratory in the
Florida Keys ñ the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory.
Participants will examine our marine ecosystem by interacting with
aquanauts living underwater in Aquarius for a week or more as they study
seafloor specimens and evaluate coral reef life.

Students will learn about the design, engineering and maintenance of the
ISS and Aquarius, the intensive training involved in preparing
researchers for the extreme environments of space and sea, and the
research conducted from these platforms. They also will learn how people
survive in these extreme environments, explore the limitations of
physiology and how new technology allows us to overcome our limitations
in these harsh environments.

During the two-week program, which will include 55 hours of live,
interactive broadcasts from the expedition sites, more than 4,000
teachers and students will take field trips to JSC for the JASON XI
broadcasts. Students and teachers spend countless hours both in and out
of the classroom preparing for the telepresence experience.

JSC’s Education and Community Support Branch provided comprehensive
professional development workshops for nearly 350 teachers from November
1999 through January 2000. During training, NASA provided JASON XI
curriculum materials at no cost to the teachers to ensure that their
students understand the scientific principles they will encounter during
the live television programs. The teachers participated in hands-on,
curriculum-based classroom activities led by Angelo Casaburri, an
aerospace education specialist, and Delicia Slaughter, JSC’s education
outreach program coordinator. Each year, a few students and teachers are
selected to accompany Ballard on the JASON Project expedition as
Argonauts. These special ambassadors help the scientist on site with
research and explain the activities to the telepresence audience. They
also interact with the host researchers during their activities.

JSC’s student Argonaut this year is Brian Stratton, a freshman at Ball
High School in Galveston. He was one of only 20 students selected from
across the country to participate in JASON XI as an argonaut. Stratton
has always had an interest in science. “I like that I get to go
somewhere else, have fun and learn new things,” he added.

Program co-host Sullivan currently serves as the director of the Center
of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio.

More information about the JASON XI Project can be found at the
following URL: