NASA selected 21 educational non-profit organizations and institutions across the United States to be part of NASA Informal Education Community Anchors program. It awarded a total of $520,000 for 1 to 2-year educational projects that teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects in “urban and rural areas with low economic opportunity” and “diverse populations, including students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM,” the agency said. “The selected projects’ reach will span 16 states, serving communities from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to rural Alaska, and many other underserved areas in between.”
One of the 21 organizations that received an award is South Texas Astronomical Society (STARS), to fund the ‘Generation Artemis’ project that will provide public education about NASA’s long-term goals and SpaceX Starship missions locally. The non-profit science education organization is located in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), the region where SpaceX set-up its Starbase rocket factory and launch site. The Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle is under development at Boca Chica Village, a sandy beach area in the southernmost tip of Texas that will be transformed into a 21st Century Spaceport to support humanity’s greatest ambitions of returning astronauts to the moon and building the first sustainable colony on Mars. NASA selected SpaceX to develop a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to land astronauts on the Moon under the Artemis program by 2025.
SpaceX Starbase Launch Site / Source: Tesmanian.com - Evelyn J. Arevalo
STARS is a small team of passionate individuals who are working to educate the public about NASA and SpaceX’s space exploration goals through free-of-charge workshops and in-person events across the RGV, including Olmito, Boca Chica, South Padre Island and the City of Brownsville, Texas. The population in these areas is mostly of Latin/Hispanic descent. Through the ‘Generation Artemis’ project, STARS hopes to inspire a new generation of students in the RGV to become future scientists, engineers, and astronauts. “We have some great things in store for next year . Our goals are to inspire and connect the community to the exciting things happening in space exploration, both locally and beyond. We’re extremely thankful to receive this support from NASA,” said STARS Executive Director Victor De Los Santos in a statement to TESMANIAN.com. [Follow South Texas Astronomical Society on Twitter: @STARSocietyRGV]
STARS plans to host 'space camp' education sessions for kids based on a NASA activity packet called ‘Forward to the Moon with Artemis’. It also plans to begin an internship program for Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) high school students through the ‘NASA STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science’ program, which will enable students to learn directly from NASA Artemis program experts.
“NASA has bold, long-term goals, so it’s critically important that we reach students where they are, and create opportunities for them to experience those feelings of discovery and confidence that STEM engagement is really all about,” said Mike Kincaid, NASA’s Associate Administrator for STEM engagement. “The Community Anchor Awards will help us reach a diverse audience while sharing and supporting NASA’s missions and future plans.” Read NASA’s official announcement and about the other institutions that received an award here: NASA Selects Education Projects to Help Broaden STEM Participation.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX