The last few months have been busy for the education and outreach efforts of the Space Science Data Operations Office (SSDOO). The Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum (SECEF) received funding and began its activities. The SSDOO also led the efforts to create the Sun-Earth Connection portion of the Office of Space Science conference exhibit. Finally, Jeff Goldstein of the Challenger Center spoke at a joint meeting of the SSDOO/HSTX education and outreach committees to acquaint the group with the programs on-going there.
SECEF is a partnership between GSFC and the University of California, Berkeley to promote the Sun-Earth Connection science theme, as defined by the NASA Office of Space Science, in the education and general communities. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, California, December 8-12, 1997, was a good opportunity for an initial meeting of the East and West Coast partners and for some initial education activities. Several hands-on SEC activities were presented at a teachers' workshop held in conjunction with the AGU meeting. Also, a poster about the SECEF was presented as part of an education session at the meeting.
At the next National Science Teachers Association national convention the Office of Space Science will have a new exhibit presenting the four science themes. Individuals from the Sun-Earth Connection missions are working together to create the SEC part of that exhibit. The layout and imagery for the display has been chosen, and now the hand-out materials and general plan for interactive displays are being assembled. The exhibit is flexible so that it can be changed easily and used at a variety of other conventions.
The December 1997 joint meeting of the SSDOO/HSTX Education and Outreach Committees featured Jeff Goldstein of the Challenger Center describing some of the programs under way there. The Challenger Center is an organizaton founded by the familes of the astronauts killed in the Challenger disaster. Its purpose is to inspire continued interest in the younger generation in the exploration of space. Of particular note among the Challenger Center programs are the family science nights fostered by the Challenger Center in both major cities and museums and in rural communities. These have met with great success. There is also an interesting plan for scale model solar systems to be placed throughout the United States, but one of the most notable would be permanently mounted on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The SSDOO and other organizations can help to assure that the latest science content will be incorporated into these exhibits.
Erin D. Gardner, firstname.lastname@example.org, (301) 286-0163
Raytheon STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.