This year, D.C.-area students and educators will be given the chance to find out what it's like to live in space. No, Oprah isn't taking her viewers on an Ultimate Space Adventure.
is inviting U.S. education organizations, such as local school districts, museums, and science centers, to apply for the the opportunity to speak to astronauts aboard the International Space Station via downlink
Members of Expeditions 29 and 30 are set to participate in these 20-minute question-and-answer sessions from September to March 2012. Participants will be able to observe the crew live in space, but only the crew will have audio-connectivity.
and the National Science Foundation
's Teaching from Space (TFS
will be hosting the event. TFS
was established in 2007, with the goal of promoting STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics -- education. STEM education is an area over which lawmakers have raised concern in recent years, most notably President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union Address
. It is the strength of STEM education that determines whether this generation capitalizes on its supposed "Sputnik moment," according to President Obama.
"Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space...after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation's Sputnik moment," he said in January.
Prospective video conference participants can email
TFS for more information on how to apply. Applications are due April 29.