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by Josh Byerly for Johnson Space Center
Houston TX (SPX) Feb 26, 2013
Ever wonder what it's like to control a camera on the International Space Station? More than 30,000 students found out in late January as part of the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students (EarthKAM) mission. More than 380 school groups from the United States and around the world were involved, setting a participation record. Typically, between 8,000 and 10,000 students take part in a given EarthKAM mission.
"The increase in the number of students participating in this space station mission is incredible," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education. "EarthKAM allows these future scientists and engineers to take an active role in research about the space station, and that truly honors the vision and legacy of Sally Ride."
EarthKAM conducts four missions a year and the next one is planned for spring.
EarthKAM allows students and teachers to explore Earth from the unique perspective of space. During three to five EarthKAM missions each year, students can control a digital camera aboard the space station to capture images of almost any place on Earth. These images are downloaded from the space station to EarthKAM and are then available on the Web for viewing and sharing by participating classrooms.
Along with learning guides, students use the images to study Earth and space science, mathematics, geography and other humanities subjects. The late Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, started the program, originally called KidSat, in 1995. The KidSat camera flew on several space shuttle missions and was modified into the current EarthKAM project in 2001.
EarthKAM is sponsored by Sally Ride Science, the company Ride founded to inspire girls and boys to pursue careers in science and engineering. The control center for the experiment is on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.
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