A range of programs have been selected by NASA to share agency funding of $10 million, as part of its Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums. 63 proposals were submitted in total and through a merit-based peer review, were whittled down to just 18, with 11 being informal education providers and seven NASA visitor centres.
All 18 projects range in value from $200,000 to $900,000 and have a maximum five year period of performance. Included in the states nominated for funding are Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Ohio.
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The proposals came from 30 states and the District of Columbia, with the decision on who should receive funding being made by a group consisting of agency mission directorates, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA's office of education.
The various projects that have been chosen cover a wide area of subjects, ranging from community based programs to planetarium shows. Other projects covered range from human space-flight to aeronautics. The projects will collaborate with NASA's Museum Alliance, which includes professionals from more than 500 museums from across the country.
"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, engineer and mathematics, or STEM. Increasing STEM literacy in students today is key to having the talent NASA will need to embark on future missions of science and discovery."
Working closely with NASA's museum alliance, the awards will concentrate on a collection of themes and will include schools, colleges and universities, as well as community-based organisations. This will give adults and children of all ages an opportunity to get involved with exhibits, community based programming, as well as interact with experts in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
“Congress established the inaugural Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums in 2008. NASA will open the fourth competition for new proposals in Fiscal Year 2013,” Ann Marie Trotta said in a press release.