NASA Launches New Education Initiatives with Disney's Buzz Lightyear

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WASHINGTON -- NASA and Disney Parks, which collaborated to carry toy
space ranger Buzz Lightyear into orbit, are launching new efforts to
encourage students to pursue studies in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics.

The 12-inch-tall action figure spent more than 15 months aboard the
International Space Station and returned to Earth on Sept. 11. On
Friday, Oct. 2, a ticker-tape parade at Walt Disney World's Magic
Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., will officially welcome Lightyear home.

"Buzz's historic spaceflight is a great example of spreading the
excitement of space exploration with students around the world," said
Joyce Winterton, NASA's assistant administrator for Education at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "We hope our space station crews and Buzz
will continue to spark student interest in the space station and its
scientific potential."

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, the station commander from October 2008 to
April 2009, is spending the day at the Magic Kingdom to tell students
about two new educational design challenges and a new online game.

Mission Patch Design Challenge: Students ages 6-12 will have the
opportunity to design a patch to commemorate Lightyear's mission and
his accomplishment of being the longest serving space ranger. The
student with the most creative mission patch and 100-word essay will
win a tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and a trip to
Walt Disney World Resort. NASA will fly the winning patch into space
then present it to the contest winner.

Kids in Micro-g Experiment Challenge: Students in the fifth through
eighth grades are encouraged to devise experiments to be conducted
aboard the space station. The 12 winning experiments will be
performed by the end of the school year and videotaped for the
winning schools.

For more information about the challenges, visit:


NASA and Disney Parks are launching a new online game as part of the
Space Ranger Education Series. The series includes fun educational
games for students and materials for educators to download and
integrate into classroom curricula. In the newest game, "Putting It
All Together," players can build the entire station using all of the
real modules.

"We can't thank our partners at NASA enough for bringing Buzz
Lightyear home from space to his family, friends and fans here at
Disney Parks -- after all, this was his dream come true," said Duncan
Wardle, vice president of Disney Parks.

NASA Television will air highlights of Finke's meeting with students
and the Buzz Lightyear parade. For streaming video, schedules and
downlink information, visit:


For information about other NASA education programs, visit:


For more information about the space station, visit:


For more information about the space shuttle, visit:


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