July 18, 2012
NASA, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and NASA Goddard Visitor Center have partnered to create a new program for the public. Our Instrumented Earth is a new exhibit-based program that will debut at each of these institutions in 2013, serving communities in Maryland, California, and Oregon. “The program will focus on how satellites and other observing systems contribute to our understanding of how Earth is changing and what those changes may mean to humans,” said Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president.
Our Instrumented Earth celebrates NASA’s advances in technology and illuminates how information can be harnessed to increase understanding of Earth’s systems to enhance human lives and protect our planet. NASA awarded the Aquarium of the Pacific with a $331,000 grant to oversee the creation of the new program in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Visitor Center and OMSI. Others involved in the development of the program include NASA, Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), and University of California, Irvine. The global exhibit being used as a platform for this program is called Science On a Sphere (SOS)® and was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The story of Our Instrumented Earth will be illustrated on a six-foot-diameter global display that combines NASA satellite images and multimedia technology to take visitors on a journey around the Earth. Visitors to the three institutions will be transported into space as they view this rotating globe and see how NASA satellites and other Earth monitoring systems help us prepare for changes happening on our planet. “Informal education providers are an important part of NASA’s education family,” said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education in Washington. “By using compelling NASA content, they help us stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM,” said Melvin.
The NASA visitor center, the Southern California aquarium, and the Oregon museum will reach millions of individuals in diverse communities with Earth science that relates to their everyday lives and can help with adapting to changes in the environment. Presentations will be available in English and Spanish. “We are honored to contribute to this program,” said David Perry, OMSI director of museum education. “Science on a Sphere has been a star attraction since its arrival here, and we are excited to use this platform to tell such a compelling story.” This collaborative project also targets underserved youth to promote STEM learning and increase careers in these fields. STEM workshops will be available for teachers at underserved schools, and the Aquarium will host NASA Night to connect scientists with the students and their teachers. Our Instrumented Earth will be adapted for use on a small transportable globe called Magic Planet. The NASA grant will also allow OMSI to develop and provide outreach education and teacher training at its area libraries and schools.