Fall Mission Will Let Students All Over the World Capture Images of the Earth from the International Space Station

San Diego, CA, October 27, 2014—Sally Ride Science today announced that a fall mission is scheduled for Sally Ride EarthKAM, Tuesday, November 4, through Friday, November 7.

During the mission, students from across the world will be able to take snapshots of Earth from space by operating a camera aboard the International Space Station (ISS). To take part in the mission, or to learn more about the program or view images from previous missions, visit https://earthkam.ucsd.edu/home.

“When Sally Ride became the first American woman to soar into space, one of her favorite things to do was to float over to a window on the space shuttle and look down on Earth. She was amazed by the view of our beautiful blue planet wrapped in its thin blanket of air. Sally wanted to share that view with young people all over the world,” said Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, CEO and cofounder of Sally Ride Science. “In 1995, she came up with the idea of putting a camera on the space shuttle so that students could snap images of different places on Earth, a program that eventually became the Sally Ride EarthKAM.”

Originally named KidSat in 1995, and then ISS EarthKAM in 2001, the program was renamed Sally Ride EarthKAM in May 2013 in honor of the late astronaut.

“Along with Sally Ride Science, EarthKAM is easily one of Sally’s greatest gifts to students and STEM educators everywhere,” says Dr. Karen Flammer, cofounder of Sally Ride Science, Director of Sally Ride EarthKAM, and space physicist at University of California San Diego (UCSD) where the Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operation Center (MOC) is located.

“Sally Ride EarthKAM is a perfect example of how igniting student interest in STEM in the classroom can lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers in STEM,” says Flammer. “Many of the students who have interned at the EarthKAM labs at UCSD ended up [at UCSD] because they participated in an EarthKAM mission while in middle school or high school. And many of UCSD’s EarthKAM interns have gone on to work at NASA. For many students, EarthKAM has played a central role in their career paths.”

During a Sally Ride EarthKAM mission, students at participating middle schools log in to the EarthKAM website and request images based on their classroom investigations. Their requests are processed at the Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operations Center, located at UCSD and modeled after NASA’s Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. A staff consisting of UCSD undergraduate students and Sally Ride EarthKAM advisors supports and maintains the MOC. Following a mission, students and teachers return to the EarthKAM website to view and download images.

More than 500,000 students, representing thousands of schools in 78 countries, have participated in EarthKAM since the program began—including as many as 50,000 students from 40 countries in a single mission—taking more than 69,000 images of Earth. The image collection and accompanying learning guides and activities—all available for public access on the Sally Ride EarthKAM website—have supported class projects in Earth science, space science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications, and art.


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