Volunteers Bringing the Solar System to the Public
Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. and Charles F. Bolden, Jr. present the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal to Patrick Wiggins
On August 14 at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Solar System Ambassador Patrick Wiggins was presented the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his outstanding efforts as a Solar System Ambassador volunteer. The citation reads...
For superior individual dedication to community and scientific engagement as NASA's prolific Solar System Ambassador.
Mr. Wiggins joined the NASA Solar Systems Ambassadors (SSA) Program in January 2002 just before retiring from the Hansen Planetarium following 26 years of service. Over the last 12 years, he has conducted over 1,050 events, averaging 88 events per year, well over the 4 events per year that are asked of volunteers. With a background in astronomy and a solid reputation for public engagement, Mr. Wiggins tirelessly travels across the state of Utah performing outreach, giving educational talks to students, and regularly providing updates on NASA's space exploratory efforts to local media. His superior dedication and volunteer efforts have built a positive reputation for not only the SSA Program but also NASA.
The Solar System Ambassadors program staff and volunteers congratulate Patrick on his accomplishments and celebrate his commitment to sharing the NASA story with the people of Utah.
SSA Tony Rice Discusses NASA's Robotic Missions at Virginia Science Festival
On October 4, Solar System Ambassador Tony Rice of North Carolina was a guest speaker at the Virginia Science Festival, held at Virginia Tech in Blackburn. There were 45 people in the audience. Said Rice, "This was the inaugural Virginia Science Festival held on the campus of my alma mater, Virginia Tech along with other venues across the Commonwealth of Virginia. NASA Langley Director Steve Jurczyk presented to a packed room on the 'Future of NASA' highlighting the work the center is doing to help enable human spaceflight to Mars. I followed up with the contributions robotic missions are making there as well; eg, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory, MAVEN, InSight, and the 2020 rover."
SSA Shares New Horizons Mission at Elementary School Family STEM Night in Georgia
On October 2, Solar System Ambassador Jayma Koval talked about the New Horizons mission and its upcoming flyby of Pluto at Springdale Park Elementary School's Family STEM Night. There were 35 students and family members in attendance. Said Koval, "I gave three 30-minute presentations to 3rd-5th graders and their parents. This was the perfect age group because the students were all born right around the time the mission launched and Pluto was reclassified. After a brief presentation where I shared background information on the mission and images LORRI took of Jupiter, participants cut out and pasted their own models of Pluto to take home. This activity was from the New Horizons educator materials guide."