Massachusetts is set to receive $1.5 million in summer education grants from NASA to help inspire the next generation of astronauts and scientists.
The federal space exploration agency will team with six colleges and universities in Massachusetts over the next three summers with the goal of increasing the number of future mathematicians and engineers, particularly among low-income and minority students.
NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden spoke highly of the grants' goals.
"I want to be able to say one year from now that we have been able to take middle school teachers and elementary school teachers, and we have taken away their fear of teaching math and science," Bolden said.
The programs focus on everything from space station robotics and the challenges of living in outer space to encouraging girls and Hispanic students to learn more about astronomy while sharpening their science skills.
"One of the most exciting of all is that students — middle school students, mind you — will actually be able to write programs which will control little mini-satellites operating inside the International Space Station," said MIT Professor Jeffrey Hoffman, another former astronaut.
Among the colleges participating in the summer programs are MIT, Framingham State College, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts Medical School, UMass-Boston and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
This program aired on May 10, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.