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NASA representatives give El Paso ISD students lesson on Mars Rovers and mission to the moon

Roddenberry Planetarium

(RODDENBERRY PLANETARIUM – Sept. 19, 2022) – El Paso ISD students got a lesson on the Mars Exploration Rovers and the upcoming mission to the moon from NASA representatives Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at the Roddenberry Planetarium.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Mariah Pulver, communications and STEM engagement lead, and Katherine Schauer, strategic communications specialist, fielded questions about space exploration and handed out stickers to students from Park, Aoy and Sunrise Mountain elementary schools.

“We want to spread awareness of what NASA is doing and also encourage and motivate students to be interested in STEM fields, to know how important it is to go to school, and to know they can have a future career and jobs in this area and at NASA,” Pulver said. 

The two NASA representatives – who were in El Paso for the 2022 El Paso Space Festival, which concludes Sept. 24 – talked to students about the Artemis mission to explore the moon, named for the twin sister of Apollo, a Greek mythology fixture and namesake of the original U.S. spaceflight program that landed humans on the moon from 1969 to 1972. The Artemis mission will send the first woman and person of color to the moon.

“I liked learning about NASA,” said Sydney Legens, a fifth-grade student from Park. “I didn’t know they were going back to the moon and didn’t know about the rovers on Mars. It was really cool. I’m thankful they took some of their time to teach us more.”

Students from throughout the community visit the iconic classroom during the school year to learn about the galaxies and El Paso’s night sky from the area’s only planetarium. It was the ideal backdrop for NASA’s talk on space exploration.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have them here and share their knowledge with our students,” said Evelyn Maldonado, planetarium manager. “These kids realize anyone can be an astronaut and work for NASA – something that seems so unattainable at times.”

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photo by Leonel Monroy, Jr.