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06
September
2016

Educators Explore Solar System Beginnings While Experiencing the Launch of NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission to Asteroid Bennu

Out-of-school-time educators from across the United States participated in a professional development training September 6–7, 2016, in Titusville, Florida, led by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), which is operated by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). As part of their experience, participants toured NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and viewed the launch of NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft on September 8, 2016.

The two-day training provided participants with tools to engage audiences in NASA’s solar system science and exploration. Participants received training on conducting hands-on activities, conversed with NASA scientists, and collaborated with their peers. Activities and presentations focused on solar system formation and evolution, asteroids, meteorites, and how robotic space exploration provides answers to questions about our solar system’s origin.

“This training builds on LPI’s long history of connecting educators to NASA science and scientists through professional development experiences,” says Andrew Shaner, Public Engagement Lead at USRA/LPI. “Experiences like these inspire participants to return home and share the excitement of NASA science and exploration with their audiences.”

The training, sponsored by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was presented by educators and scientists from LPI, the Planetary Science Institute, the Southwest Research Institute, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the University of Arizona, and the University of Central Florida.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will spend two years traveling through space to arrive at asteroid Bennu in 2018. It will then spend more than a year studying Bennu up close before collecting and returning a sample to Earth in 2023.