The nation’s top teachers from each state including representatives from
American Samoa, Department of Defense Education Activity, District of
Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands are journeying
on a weeklong space “mission” this summer, courtesy of NASA. The teachers,
chosen by their peers, arrived at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in
Huntsville, Ala., July 26, and are learning what it’s like to live and work
in space. The event continues through August 2 and is co-sponsored by the
Marshall Space Flight Center, also in Huntsville.

Teachers will have the opportunity to become astronauts, scientists and
engineers, if only for a week. They will be able to experience first-hand
the impact that space exploration has on everyday life and our nation’s
future. NASA is committed to sharing its resources with our nation’s

“NASA has a responsibility to enlighten and inspire a new generation of
scientists, engineers and technologists,” said Dr. Adena Williams Loston,
NASA Associate Administrator for Education. “Our nation needs young people
to be our discoverers and explorers of tomorrow, and NASA needs them to help
us explore new worlds and to improve life here on Earth. We aspire to help
our educators do even better what they do so well: inspire and nurture young
minds to learn and grow. Educators touch the future and by partnering with
our educators we are working collaboratively to develop the talent pool that
is crucial to our nation and NASA.”

The teachers’ schedule includes lectures from scientists about space
exploration, the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle and current
NASA research. They will also enjoy a multi-faceted experience consisting of
mission training, mission simulation, a water-survival aviation challenge,
robotics and science demonstrations, a look at rocket construction and
dozens of other events. They will spend July 28 touring the Marshall Center
and meeting with center director David King.

Teacher of the Year winners are selected by each state’s education
department on the basis of nominations by students, teachers, principals,
and school district administrators throughout the states. The program, which
began in 1952, is considered the top honor in recognizing and rewarding
teaching excellence.

“Educators have one of the world’s most important jobs,” said Jim Pruitt,
Marshall Center manager of the education programs department. “Marshall
salutes their hard work and dedication to children. NASA’s mission statement
dedicates the agency to “inspire the
next generation of explorers, and we believe that partnering with teachers
is vital to this element,” Pruitt said.

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