Launch Your Library into Space Science!

We invite you to participate in the Countdown to Curiosity and the launch of the latest mission to Mars on November 22–25 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront and the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This free, NASA-supported experience includes a two-day workshop, a VIP tour of Kennedy Space Center, and front row seats at the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity.

Countdown to Curiosity will acquaint you with everything you need to know about the mysterious red planet in order to bring exciting programs to your community. You will learn about how the Martian environment has changed through time; the possibility for life on Mars; past, present, and future NASA missions to Mars, including the launch of the latest robotic mission to Mars, Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity; plus much more!

Scientists and educators from the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will share space science information, resources, hands-on activities, and demonstrations developed specifically for librarians to use in their programs with children ages 8 to 13 and their families.

During the experience you will:

  • meet NASA scientists and engineers involved in Mars exploration and the latest mission to Mars;
  • learn about Mars science, missions, and future exploration (and learn why this launch is happening on a holiday weekend);
  • receive training in related hands-on science inquiry activities;
  • receive related resources and materials that you can use in your programs;
  • explore ideas for presenting space science programs to young audiences and families;
  • collaborate with other youth librarians from all over the United States and become part of the growing Explore! library community;
  • receive a $1,500 stipend (sent out after completion of the workshop);
  • get a VIP tour of Kennedy Space Center; and
  • weather and conditions permitting, experience the launch of the newest mission to Mars: Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity.

Selected applicants will be notified by close of business on October 24. Selected applicants must commit to:

  • confirming participation before close of business October 26;
  • confirming hotel reservations at the hotel block before close of business October 28 (if a hotel is needed ); and
  • completing two-page stipend paperwork before close of business October 28 (it’s easy, really!).

Participants must also hold at least three children’s/family programs within the next year utilizing workshop materials and resources. One of these will be a Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Mission landing event to be held at your library in August 2012. You will leave the workshop with plenty of ideas and the ability to implement hands-on activities with your patrons.

The workshop begins at 9 am on Tuesday, November 22, and continues until 5 pm, on Wednesday, November 23. Light snacks will be provided. All other meals will be on your own. A block of rooms has been reserved, and details will be passed along with notification of the selected participants. The Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Mission launch is tentatively scheduled for the morning of Friday, November 25, 2011. The VIP tour of Kennedy Space Center will also take place on Friday, November 25, 2011. Attendance of the launch and VIP tour is not required; however, participation in these activities is highly recommended. Participants are responsible for travel, housing, dinner costs, and all logistical arrangements. Please note that you will receive your stipend following completion of the workshop.

Space is limited; please complete the online registration form by 8 a.m. (Central time) on October 24, 2011, to apply for the experience. Come join us for a fun- and learning-filled four days! We look forward to exploring Countdown to Curiosity with you.

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