To highlight its commitment to inspiring the next generation of explorers, NASA introduces the ExploraVan. Through NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program, special one-day events at selected science centers and museums are planned for the coming year. The first ExploraVan visit is March 22, 2005, at the Virginia Air & Space Center, the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center.

The visits feature the NASA ExploraVan that will travel across the country carrying NASA leaders, astronauts, and educators whose mission is to introduce students and their teachers to NASA educational activities.

The first event begins with the arrival of the ExploraVan followed by a program including a special presentation of “Keys to the Universe” to local officials in attendance. Former Astronaut Roger Crouch will hold a question-and-answer session on working and living in space. Lesa Roe, NASA Langley Deputy Center Director, along with Dr. Adena Loston, NASA’s Chief Education Officer will provide opening remarks.

Media opportunity: Media are invited to participate in the program starting at 9:00 a.m. with the arrival of the ExploraVan. Astronaut Crouch, Dr. Loston and local dignitaries will be available for interviews at 10:45 a.m. For more information, contact Kimberly Land, 757-344-8611, or Megan Steele, 757-871-3979. Students from Hampton and Newport News schools will divide into teams and work with NASA and museum education specialists who will guide them through hands-on training activities. Local dignitaries are invited to attend each workshop.

Prior to joining the astronaut corps, Crouch had been at NASA Langley as leader of a research group investigating the effects of convection on semiconductor properties. As the payload specialist on shuttle missions STS-83 and STS-94, he has logged over 471 hours in space. Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT) from Langley’s five-state region will participate in the ExploraVan event. The teachers are among almost 200 educators who were included in the final group of Educator Astronaut candidates.

The event will be showcased in a new web-based video series called “Earth Crew News” that will be presented on the Educator Astronaut Program website. NASA’s ExploraVan promises to bring fun, inspiration, and excitement to informal education locations across the nation in the coming months.

For more information about NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program and future ExploraVan events, visit: