On August 27, 2019, NASA launched a national contest for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students to name the Mars 2020 rover, the newest robotic scientist to be sent to Mars. Scheduled to launch aboard a rocket in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and touch down on Mars in February 2021, the to-be-named rover weighs more than 2,300 pounds (1,000 kilograms) and will search for astrobiological signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
During the Back to School tour, Diane Auer Jones visited colleges in Delaware and Maryland to celebrate successful institutions and meet with students as the new academic year begins. As the principal Deputy Under Secretary, Delegated to Perform the Duties of Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, Auer Jones visited colleges with high performing STEM programs and STEM-based career and technical education programs.
The Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures chronicles the inspiring story of three brilliant African American women mathematicians who, despite the barriers put in their way, played a pivotal role in one of our nation’s greatest achievements. These “human computers” performed by hand the complex mathematical calculations required to put a man into orbit around the Earth.
To commemorate Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum (NASM) hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Ivanka Trump, Astronaut Kay Hire, women from NASA and more than 400 local students at an event celebrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that culminated in a viewing of the film.
The students, from a number of D.C., Maryland and Virginia schools, were treated to exhibits celebrating space exploration, motivational presentations and, of course, the movie.