The Wings of Eagles Discovery Center just received $1.2 million in grant money from NASA. The grant will help the center build a new Mars exhibit.
“$1.2 million from NASA in Big Flats, New York is a pretty big deal,” said Nicole Burt, Director of Education at Wings of Eagles Discovery Center.
“And the money is going to go towards the building of a Martian habitat where kids can use inquiry-based hands-on techniques to explore a Martian habitat and what they need to survive on that surface,” Burt said.
Discovery center officials said they can’t wait to have another space exhibit that could potentially get students interested in pursing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
“And this new exhibit along with our Mars Rover Program is really gonna dive more into space exploration especially as it evolves into the next 25, 50 years. Hopefully by then we’ll actually be to Mars,” Burt said.
Wings of Eagles Discovery center partnered with the Elmira City School District for the grant and they’re hoping to get some help from students and teachers once they’re ready to design a program for the exhibit.
And some of that grant money is specifically allocated to pay for Elmira City School District students’ transportation to the discovery center to see the new exhibit.
Burt said she’s pleased NASA included student transportation in the budget, because it can be difficult to get students out for a field trip without adequate funding.
“We really want kids to come in we want our atmosphere to be more family-friendly we want to engage kids in environment where they can explore and learn and even do some engineering and design while they’re here,” Burt said.
If everything goes according to schedule, the one-of-a-kind Martian habitat exhibit will be completed by the end of next year.
“We’re super excited I just I can’t wait to get little people in here and get them excited and interacting with a space that nobody else around us is going to have,” Burt said.
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