New Education Program Salutes Vision of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger Mission


A new educational program using simulated space exploration was announced today to commemorate the Space Shuttle Challenger Mission STS 51-L that ended tragically on January 28, 1986. The program, entitled e-Mission: Moon, Mars and Beyond, furthers the objectives of the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education, which was founded by the families of the Challenger crew to pursue the educational goals of the first "Teacher in Space" mission.

e-Mission: Moon, Mars and Beyond was developed by the Wheeling Jesuit University Challenger Learning Center (CLC), one of 51 CLC sites, and the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies. Designed for third to fifth grade students, the distance learning program was funded through a grant from Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA) and includes a live simulation that prompts children to use their math and science skills to help rescue a spaceship lost in the outer reaches of the solar system.

"A driving goal of the Challenger Learning Center is to excite today's youth about the wonders of space and the adventure of a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - the so-called STEM careers," said Greg Meier, chief executive officer of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University. "Thanks to Computer Associates, e-Mission: Moon, Mars and Beyond will reach out to elementary school students to spur their interest in these vital areas."

"CA is focused on enriching the lives of children around the world through technology," said Lisa Platania, director of community relations at CA. "In addition to developing critical math, science, communication and problem-solving skills, the e-Missions programs help students increase their confidence and their motivation to learn. We are proud to support the important educational goals of the Challenger Learning Centers."

In addition to funding the development of the Moon, Mars and Beyond curriculum, Computer Associates has donated funds to cover the costs of flying 200 simulated missions involving 5,000 students in the U.S. and the U.K. More than $280,000 has been donated to the Challenger Learning Centers by the management software company.

The internationally acclaimed Challenger Learning Center Network consists of state-of-the-art, innovative educational simulators located in 51 sites across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Each Center consists of a space station, complete with communications, medical, life, and computer science equipment, a mission control room patterned after NASA's Johnson Space Center, and a space lab ready for exploration. Students located in their classrooms analyze data sent to their computers over the Internet and confer with mission control personnel via video-conferencing.

About the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education

The Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education was founded in 1986 through the efforts of the families of the Challenger 51-L crew. The crew's spirit of exploration, quest for knowledge and inspiration to others to achieve their own potential were components of an educational mission too important to be left unfulfilled. For more information, please visit http://www.challenger.org.

About the Challenger Learning Center at WJU

Founded in 1994, the Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University is part of a growing network of centers established by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in memory of the ill-fated Challenger Shuttle. The center is a unique hands-on learning experience designed to foster interest in math, science and technology education. The facility is a laboratory for spirited teachers and an exciting learning environment for their students. With state-of-the-art resources and innovative curriculum, the Challenger Learning Center launches teachers and students on a voyage of discovery. Students and educators work in teams to solve real-life mathematics, science and technology problems during space flight simulations. More than 100,000 students and teachers have visited and become inspired. The Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University offers award winning, state-of-the-art programs in both a $500,000 space simulator and, thanks to technology, in distant classrooms. For more information, please visit http://www.wju.edu/clc/.

The Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies at WJU

The Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies is located on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University. The Center for Educational Technologies partners with industry and government agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation to provide market-driven research in the learning sciences. It provides state-of-the-art formal and informal learning tools and opportunities for K-12 students and their teachers. Its projects focus on advanced educational gaming, electronic "missions" or simulations, and career development. The Center for Educational Technologies is home to the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future, which creates curriculum for all ages that improves mathematics, science, geography, and technology education in ways consistent with national educational standards.

About CA

Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE:CA), the world's largest management software company, delivers software and services across operations, security, storage, life cycle and service management to optimize the performance, reliability and efficiency of enterprise IT environments. Founded in 1976, CA is headquartered in Islandia, N.Y., and serves customers in more than 140 countries. For more information, please visit http://ca.com. For more information about CA's Community Relations programs, please visit http://ca.com/community.

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