Educators Prepare To Blast Off To Space
When the Shuttle Discovery blasts off to the International Space Station on Wednesday, March 11th, among its crew of seven, will be, Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold II, two former high school science and math teachers.
During the two-week mission the duo, picked because of their expertise in hardware and technical issues, will be assisting the crew in installing a final set of solar wings for the Space Station. They will also help out in some maintenance work and yes - they will be stepping outside the Station to conduct some critical Space Walks.
In fact, the mission is expected to be so busy that educational activities are be limited to just one interview, with Channel-One News, a newscast for teenagers, where Acaba and Arnold will answer questions posed by students from various schools.
While both men are excited to be part of the team of Astronauts - teaching remains their first love. As Acaba puts it, 'As an educator, I think the most important thing for me is to fulfill the goal of inspiring a new generation - Motivating kids to learn is as important as the subject matter".
Acaba and Arnold were picked from a group of 1,600 teachers who applied to train as Astronauts under NASA's Teachers In Space program, started in 2002. According to NASA, the program was started because teachers are - incredibly good at understanding and translating difficult challenges or complex problems, in a way normal people can understand'.
To read more about these amazing teachers and hear their message to other educators, as well as, learn some fun facts about spacesuits, check out their site: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/spacesuits/home/index.html
Sources: Sfgate.com, msnbc.com, nasa.gov