Press Release

NASA Brings Space Exploration to Washington Students

By SpaceRef Editor
December 8, 2005
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NASA Brings Space Exploration to Washington Students

Former Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar and education specialists from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., will visit Toppenish Middle School, Toppenish, Wash., to share NASA’s future exploration goals and their excitement about the future of space exploration. On Dec. 13, 2005, they will participate in a full-day ‘launch’ event celebrating the selection of Toppenish as a 2005 NASA Explorer School.

Dunbar, the new president and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, will discuss the exploration of space and how students can participate as the next generation of explorers. She will encourage students to pursue studies in math, science and technology and careers in aeronautics and space.

After the morning assembly, the NASA Ames educational specialists will visit classrooms for additional enrichment activities.

What: NASA Explorer School ‘Launch’ Event
When: 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. PST, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005
Who: Former Astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar
Where: Toppenish School, 104 Goldendale Avenue, Toppenish, Wash.

What: NASA Explorer School Classroom Enrichment Activities
When: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. PST, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005
Who: NASA Ames educational specialists
Where: Toppenish School, 104 Goldendale Avenue, Toppenish, Wash.

News media interested in attending the NES events or interviewing Dunbar should contact Jonas Dino at 650/207-3280 or 650/604-5612. Visitors are required to sign in at each school’s main office to enter the campus.

Toppenish Middle School was named one of NASA’s 2005 Explorer Schools in May. The school started the program this fall and will continue the partnership for the next three years.

Dunbar is a native of Washington, born in raised in the small town of Sunnyside. She earned bachelor and masters of science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington, before being selected for the astronaut corps in 1981. Dunbar later earned a doctoral degree in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston. As an astronaut, Dunbar has logged more than 1,208 hours (50 days) in space. She served as a mission specialist on STS 61-A in 1985, STS-32 in 1990, and STS-71 in 1995, and was the payload commander on STS-50 in 1992, and STS-89 in 1998. Dunbar has served as the president and CEO of The Museum of Flight in Seattle since 2005.

The NASA Explorer School program is a three-year partnership, sponsored by NASA, to help educators and students join NASA’s mission of discovery through educational activities and special learning opportunities tailored to promote science, mathematics and technology applications and career explorations.

During the partnership, students in the NES program participate in digital conferences with scientists and engineers at NASA. Educators also utilize the hands-on activities to their students to provide exciting learning experiences in the science, mathematics and technology fields.

For information about the NASA Explorer Schools Program, visit:

For information about The Museum of Flight, visit:

For information about NASA, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.