Space Foundation Launches Mars Yard
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May. 17, 2011) -- A simulated Martian terrain and robotics laboratory is the newest addition to the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs. The Space Foundation will launch the new Mars Yard on May 18 in a ceremony presented cooperatively with Colorado Springs School District 11 (D-11) and the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
The Mars Yard, along with Space Foundation education programs, are all a critical part of the Space Foundation's mission to build a better, stronger workforce for the future to support space exploration and utilization. The Space Foundation Discovery Institute, which opened in 2009, provides space-themed professional development and support for teachers and students from around the world. It serves as the base location for the Space Foundation's education programs and houses classrooms, a conference center, an Educator Resource Center, the AGI Space Missions Simulator and now a Mars Yard.
"The completion of the Mars Yard fulfills part of our vision for the Space Foundation Discovery Institute, further enhancing our innovative space education center that strengthens our community, our state and our country by inspiring young people to pursue high-tech careers," said Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham.
Work began on the lab in 2010 with the donation of the "Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience," providing robots for the simulated Martian terrain mission laboratory.
The Mars Yard was also made possible through donated time and equipment from:
- Mike DeGrant of Lowell Development Partners
- Robert Elliott of Robertson's Landscaping
- Bill Johansen of C & C Sand and Stone Co.
- Bud Bandfield of BudCo Electric
- Colorado Lighthouse
Students at the adjacent Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy were the first to use the lab this spring; the entire sixth grade participated in sessions while the Mars Yard was being completed. This aerospace-themed middle school was created in 2009 through a partnership between the Space Foundation and D-11. Its curriculum, which is collaboratively developed by the Space Foundation and D-11, uses space and aerospace themes and principles to teach a broad range of subjects, with focus on improving students' proficiency in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM).
Next school year the Mars Yard will be available exclusively to D-11 students as part of the partnerships with the Space Foundation. After that, the Mars Yard will be open to other school districts along the Colorado Front Range.
Teachers enrolled in the Space Foundation Space Across the Curriculum course "Space Technologies in the Classroom" will be the first group of educators to use the Mars Yard. The course is one of five offered at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute this summer to help teachers learn how to use space themes and concepts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics proficiency. The courses are open to Pre-K - 12 teachers.
More information about Space Foundation education programs is available at: www.spacefoundation.org/education
About the Space Foundation
The Space Foundation is a global, nonprofit organization and the foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry - civil, commercial, military and intelligence. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom, and major industry events, including the National Space Symposium, all in support of its mission "to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity." An expert in all aspects of the global space industry, the Space Foundation publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indices that track daily performance of the space industry. Through its Space Certification and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, the Space Foundation recognizes space-based technologies and innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C., office and has field representatives in Houston, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Fla. For more information, visit www.SpaceFoundation.org. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and read about the latest space news and Space Foundation activities in Space Watch.