Space Foundation Press Releases

Sponsor Provides Additional Funding to Support Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience

Written by: developer

Sponsor Provides Additional Funding to Support Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sep. 21, 2011) — Honeywell has provided additional funding for the Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute (SFDI) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The donation provides robots and support funds for the SFDI Mars Yard laboratory, a simulated Martian terrain where students learn a wide variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles.

Honeywell provided funding last year to purchase the initial fleet of LEGO® NXT and MINDSTORMS® remote control and programmable robots for use in the Mars Yard, which opened last May and has been used extensively by students at the adjacent Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy (JSAA). Last year, the Mars Yard and the Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience were available exclusively to JSAA students. This year, schools from throughout Colorado Springs School District 11 (D-11) are participating and, after that, the Mars Yard and Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience will be open to other school districts along the Colorado Front Range and around the world.

In addition, teachers enrolled the Space Foundation’s summertime Space Foundation Space Across the Curriculum course “Space Technologies in the Classroom” use the facilities to learn how to use space themes and concepts to improve student STEM proficiency.

“Honeywell was our first partner in what, at the time, seemed like an impossible project,” said Space Foundation Vice President – Education Iain Probert. “It’s fantastic that they have decided to continue supporting the Mars Yard now that the dream has become a reality.”

The Mars Yard, similar to training facilities at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is the only such facility in the world that is open to schools and teachers. Students — primarily in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades — use the Honeywell-provided robots for maneuvers similar to those performed by real scientists operating rovers exploring the Martian surface, including searching for water beneath the surface. 

“It’s exciting to see how engaged these young people are as they learn complex math, science, research, information technology and social interaction skills,” said Mark Clark, satellite control network contract systems engineering division manager for Honeywell in Colorado Springs. “Honeywell is working with the Space Foundation to build the technical and engineering workforce of tomorrow.”

About Honeywell
Honeywell’s contribution is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s community outreach and giving initiative. Honeywell Hometown Solutions focuses the company’s giving and community involvement in five areas: science and math education, housing and shelter, family safety and security, habitat and conservation and humanitarian relief.

About the Space Foundation
The foremost advocate for all sectors of the global space industry, the Space Foundation is developing the next generation of space professionals – and building the overall technological strength of the nation – through programs that stimulate students’ STEM interest and skills. A non-profit organization founded in 1983, the Space Foundation supports its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity,” through its education programs; space awareness programs, including Space Certification and the Space Technology Hall of Fame® industry events, including the National Space Symposium; research and analysis products, including The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity ; and government affairs activities. SFDI serves as base for the Space Foundation’s education programs and houses classrooms, a NASA Educator Resource Center and two laboratories — the Mars Yard and the AGI Space Missions Simulator. JSAA, an aerospace-themed middle school that was created through a partnership between the Space Foundation and D-11, uses space to teach a broad range of subjects, with focus on improving students’ proficiency in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). Visit, follow the Space Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and subscribe to Space Watch.

Supporting Space Foundation STEM Education
To inquire about supporting Space Foundation education programs, contact Margo Hatton, manager development and education partnerships, at 719.576.8000 or [email protected].

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