Press Release

Explore Mars Launches the Mars Education Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
September 15, 2010
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Explore Mars, National Science Teachers Association and the Planetary Society Partner for New High School Science Challenge

BEVERLY, Mass. — September 13, 2010 — Explore Mars, Inc., in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Planetary Society, today announced the launch of the Mars Education Challenge (MEC).
The Mars Education Challenge asks high school science educators to develop and submit ingenious ways to fit Mars science and exploration into their classroom lessons.

“The science required to study Mars is largely the same ‘Earth’ science that is currently taught in school districts around the country,” said Chris Carberry, Executive Director, Explore Mars, Inc. “By showing that the study of Mars is highly relevant to the study of Earth, we want to find new ways to excite students not only in space exploration, but in science and engineering – both of which are vital to the competitiveness of this nation. We think that this program will create innovative ways to teach science in the classroom.”

The inaugural Challenge will recognize six curricula entries, five regional and one national. Regional winners will receive $2,500 grants and the national winner will receive a $5,000 grant. Winners will also have an opportunity to do field research with well-known planetary scientists. The national winner will receive an expense paid trip to NSTA’s 2011 National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco where he or she will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. Winning lesson plans will be shared with classrooms nationwide.

“NSTA is pleased to partner with Explore Mars and the Planetary Society on this innovative challenge for teachers,” said Francis Eberle, NSTA Executive Director. “Teachers love to be creative in the classroom, and the Mars Education Challenge is a fun and original way to engage students about Mars, connect them to key ideas in the Earth Sciences, and inspire them to pursue a career in one of the STEM areas.”

MEC is sponsored by Aerojet Corporation. Explore Mars is partnering with the NSTA and the Planetary Society to help advance this important education contest.
Curricula submissions are due by January 5, 2011. For additional details and updates concerning MEC, or the Explore Mars organization, visit our website at

About Explore Mars

Explore Mars was created to promote science and technology innovation and education with a use for Mars exploration and settlement. Through a series of technology innovation awards, scientific symposiums, Mars analog work, technology demonstrations, and other programs, the organization provides a platform for scientists and “citizen scientists” to engage in meaningful space exploration research and development in the private sector. Some of the individuals involved in Explore Mars include Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Miles O’Brien, Andrew Chaikin, Dr. Chris McKay, Sam Burbank, and Dr. Penelope Boston.

About the National Science Teachers Association

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes approximately 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education. For more information, please visit

About the Planetary Society

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non- governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Visit us at

About Aerojet

Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile, space propulsion and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate business segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the Company’s excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the Companies’ web sites at and

SpaceRef staff editor.