Press Release

Space-Buff Volunteers Wanted As Solar System Ambassadors

By SpaceRef Editor
July 27, 2001
Filed under , ,

Want to guide others on an armchair adventure to the moons of
Jupiter and the surface of Mars?

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is
inviting applications from space enthusiasts nationwide for the
Solar System Ambassador program. The program brings together
motivated volunteers from across the nation with top space scientists
and engineers to help tell the public about exciting solar system
discoveries and future explorations.

Applications for year 2002 ambassadors will be accepted during
the month of September 2001. Final selections will be announced in
December.

“We now have 206 ambassadors in 47 states, and they come from
a variety of backgrounds, from teachers to retirees to amateur
astronomers,” said JPL’s Kay Ferrari, coordinator of the program.
The first session next year focuses on Europa – a moon of
Jupiter thought to have an ocean beneath its icy crust. JPL’s
Europa Orbiter mission is being planned to discover whether such
an ocean really exists.

Online information is available about the Solar System
Ambassador program at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador and about
Europa Orbiter at

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/europaorbiter .

The Solar System Ambassador program equips volunteers to
arrange public events such as lectures, star parties, community
displays and library appearances. Through these events, ambassadors
share fresh findings about planetary exploration and news about
technology developments from the space program that are used on Earth.

Mike Obland, a graduate student who volunteers as a Solar
System Ambassador in Bozeman, Mont., said, “I think space exploration
is important, and this is a good way to keep up with all the latest
happenings and get information about them to the public.”

Deanna Walvatne, an ambassador who teaches high school science
in Waverly, Iowa, said when she presents space-exploration programs,
people of all ages seem hungry for the information. “A lot of people
are interested in the missions to different parts of the solar system,
but don’t know much about them,” she said. Pictures and posters
provided by JPL, as well as opportunities for contacts with mission
scientists and engineers, help her satisfy the public’s interest, she
said.

Ferrari said, “The ideal candidate is a space enthusiast who is
active in his or her community. Solar System Ambassadors agree to
arrange, conduct and report a minimum of four space-related events
during their calendar year of service and participate in training
sessions via the Internet.” Ambassadors may renew their applications
during subsequent years and will be accepted based upon their reporting
and training records.

For more information about the Solar System Ambassadors program,
contact the coordinator, Kay Ferrari, at ambassadors@jpl.nasa.gov or
(818) 354-7581.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Current Solar System Ambassadors are listed at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/usstates.html . Guy Webster, at
(818) 354-6278, can help you contact them.

SpaceRef staff editor.