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Mikulski Announces $632,000 in Federal Funding for NASA Wallops to Inspire a Generation of Mars Explorers and Scientists

Press Release From: United States Senate
Posted: Friday, September 9, 2016

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), today announced that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) Visitor Center STEM in Action project has been awarded $632,000 in federal funding through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers. As Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee and its Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee, the Senator fights each year to include funding that supports the NASA, and Wallops, mission to advance space science and discovery.

“From my first day, I was inspired by NASA,” Senator Mikulski said. “This grant is well-deserved and will allow Wallops to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts. When you pair formal learning with informal education at museums and visitor centers, like the one at Wallops, students are able to apply what they’re learning in class in a hands-on environment. We want our students to have every opportunity to make new discoveries, to win the Nobel Prizes and the markets. They are our next genius club that will create new ideas, new breakthroughs and new products. This project will also show kids that STEM isn’t just the key to a good job and a promising future, but also fun.”

The STEM in Action project is a collaboration between Wallops Visitor Center, Wallops Education Team, Virginia Space Flight Academy, and the Delmarva Space Sciences Foundation. The federal funding will allow Wallops to enhance and expand the existing programming and infrastructure of the Visitor Center, which has hit record levels because of resupply missions to the International Space Station that launch from Wallops.

The project supports upgrades to Visitor Center exhibits as well as STEM teachers to support the project. Wallops STEM in Action is one of three projects selected to build Mars exploration exhibits, provide educator professional development on space science and engineering, develop Mars-themed lesson plans for regional school districts, offer afterschool activities and summer camps and establish space exploration community programs.

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