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*** MARCH 2009 ***

...NASA Ames Research Center has selected the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Columbia, Md., for award of a new five-year cooperative agreement valued at $9,873,524 to provide internships to talented university students and faculty engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Under the terms of the agreement, the USRA will design, implement and manage a work-force development program, called the Education Associates Program (EAP), under the auspices of NASA Ames Education and Public Outreach Branch.
The program will address the critical shortage of American students enrolling in, and graduating from, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This is a matter of serious concern to NASA, all high-tech companies and the nation. To encourage student engagement in STEM fields of study, the EAP will provide hands-on internships with NASA scientists and engineers, with a particular added focus on diversity enrollment...

...NASA and Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday plans to make planetary images and data available via the Internet under a Space Act Agreement. Through this project, NASA and Microsoft jointly will develop the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content -- including high-resolution scientific images and data from Mars and the moon -- explorable on WorldWide Telescope, Microsoft's online virtual telescope for exploring the universe.
"Making NASA's scientific and astronomical data more accessible to the public is a high priority for NASA, especially given the new administration's recent emphasis on open government and transparency," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Under the joint agreement, NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will process and host more than 100 terabytes of data, enough to fill 20,000 DVDs. WorldWide Telescope will incorporate the data later in 2009 and feature imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as MRO. Launched in August 2005, MRO has been examining Mars with a high-resolution camera and five other instruments since 2006 and has returned more data than all other Mars missions combined.
"This collaboration between Microsoft and NASA will enable people around the world to explore new images of the moon and Mars in a rich, interactive environment through the WorldWide Telescope," said Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft External Research in Redmond, Wash. "WorldWide Telescope serves as a powerful tool for computer science researchers, educators and students to explore space and experience the excitement of computer science." ...

...Growing up in the rural Appalachian foothills of the Ohio Valley, John Marmie developed a passion for music. When he combined that passion with his enthusiasm for space exploration, he was inspired to write an original song, 'Water on the Moon.'
As the deputy project manager for the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., Marmie is helping spearhead America's return to the moon. Scheduled to launch later this year, the LCROSS mission is designed to search for water by impacting one of the moon's permanently shadowed craters. Marmie's goal is to not only help write history with LCROSS, but also to inspire others.
"I learned in my early 20s about the power of music," said Marmie. "It entertained, it opened social doors, it inspired and music allowed me to relax, escape and to dream."
Knowing a career in music might be financially unstable, Marmie wanted a career path where he could be creative and still support his passion for music. Higher education opened doors and guided his path.
Marmie set out on his journey at the University of Ohio where he earned a Bachelors degree in electrical and computer engineering and a masters in electrical engineering with a concentration in computational electromagnetics. His hard work got him noticed by NASA. Contemplating a move to the home of country music, Nashville, Tenn., Marmie's plans changed when he received an offer to work at NASA's Ames Research Center in Northern California. A new passion was born.
"When the opportunity to work for NASA was presented, I just couldn't turn it down," he said "To this day, I still ask myself, 'how did I end up at NASA?' It must have been divine guidance." ...