San Diego, CA, July 2, 2014—Sally Ride EarthKAM is set to begin another mission, allowing students from across the world to take snapshots of Earth’s surface from space by operating a camera aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The mission will take place July 15-19.
To take part in the mission (or to learn more about the program), visit https://earthkam.ucsd.edu/home
“When Sally Ride became the first American woman to soar into space, she got a chance to look back at Earth from the window of the space shuttle. 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 Tam O’Shaughnessy, CEO and cofounder of Sally Ride Science. “In 1995, she came up with the idea for a NASA program put a camera in space so that students could snap images of different places on Earth, a program that eventually became the Sally Ride EarthKAM.”
Originally named KidSat on its launch in 1995, and then the ISS EarthKAM in 2001, the program was renamed the Sally Ride EarthKAM in May 2013.
“After Sally Ride Science, EarthKAM is easily one of Sally’s greatest legacy gifts to students and STEM educators everywhere,” says Dr. Karen Flammer, cofounder of Sally Ride Science, Director of EarthKAM, and space physicist at University of California San Diego (UCSD) where the EarthKAM labs are located.
“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 an 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 (MOC), 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.
Nearly 300,000 students, representing thousands of schools in 74 countries, have participated in EarthKAM since the program began, taking more than 69,000 images of Earth. The image collection and accompanying learning guides and activities—all available for public access on the EarthKAM website—have supported class projects in Earth science, space science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications, and even art.