Press Release

NASA Curiosity Rover Highlighted At Pocono Raceway

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2012
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HAMPTON, Va. During an upcoming NASCAR race event, a NASA Learning Environments & Research Networks (LE&RN) education program called Rockets to Racecars (R2R) will provide the public an opportunity to explore science, technology, education and math (STEM) and learn about the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover mission to Mars. The event will be held Aug. 3-5 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

Pocono Raceway has opened its doors to share facilities and resources to make NASAs participation possible, said Bonnie Murray, NASA education specialist. The ability to bring information about this exciting NASA mission to the fans, and to provide children and families attending the event with fun and educational activities, is a checkered-flag win for everyone involved.

During the event, families can go to the Kids Zone from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to see a model of MSL, touch a tire from the Curiosity rover and test their skills at attempting a successful landing on Mars. They also will learn about the science of flight and racing at NASAs R2R exhibit, and meet Robonaut, the first robotic astronaut assistant.

Prior to the event, there will be a teacher professional development workshop at the raceway where participants will hear from Murray, JPL Digital Learning Coordinator Lyle Tavernier, and NASA planetary scientist Dr. Heidi Hammel as they talk about how NASA programs can help inspire students to study STEM. Teachers will learn about NASA resources including the R2R STEM education program, the MSL mission to Mars, and the NASA engineering design challenge, Touchdown Challenge. They will participate in the NASAR2R social media event that will coincide with the NASA multicenter MSL social occurring on the same day. The workshop will be streamed over the Internet on Aug. 2, 1-4 p.m. EDT here:

Also featured during the webcast will be an important announcement from NASAs Digital Badging Team about its brand new Curiosity Digital Badges. Additionally, the teachers will get to visit the racetrack to see how NASCAR provides shock absorption with the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier on the racetrack. All of their training will lead to their ability to share their knowledge of NASA at the Kids Zone area during the actual event.

NASA LE&RN is a project within the Elementary-Secondary Education Program of NASAs Office of Education. Its primary focus is on the use of educational technologies for STEM content delivery to students of all ages, online professional development courses, experiences and events, and the research and development of learning tools and methods within tomorrows learning environments. The project serves both teachers and students through interactive virtual connections.

For more information about Rockets to Racecars, visit:

The public can follow the NASAR2R social at:

For more information about NASA research and exploration, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.