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D.W. McCarthy, Jr., L.A. Lebofsky, T.F. Slater, M.J. Rieke (U. Arizona), S.M. Pompea (NOAO)
Astronomical images can inspire a new generation. The clarity of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), combined with the near-infrared camera's (NIRCam) ability to see farther back in time and through murky regions of space, may unveil the ``First Light" from a newborn Universe and the origins of planetary systems. The NIRCam science team, led by Dr. Marcia Rieke, unites scientists from across the U.S., Canada, and Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center with prominent science educators. The E/PO program especially targets K-14 girls in a partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA, to address such specific needs as (1) the review of existing badge programs for younger girls, (2) new, community-based activities and research experiences for older girls, (3) interaction experiences in person and on-line with inspiring mentors and role-models, and (4) leadership and training experiences for adult trainers.
New activities will be inquiry-based and appropriate in both formal and informal settings. They will also used for training future teachers of science. Topics such as ``Light pollution" can be related thematically to such NGST concepts as a ``low thermal background". The Astronomy Camp facilities on historic Mt. Lemmon will be used to ``train the trainers" by providing Girl Scouts and their adult leaders hands-on experiences with 8- to 60-inch telescopes, CCD and infrared cameras, and image processing techniques. NIRCam scientists will also be involved in developing authentic research-based projects using NIRCam datasets for in-class use by middle and high school teachers.
The NIRCam E/PO program is funded by NASA under prime contract, NAS502105, with Goddard Space Flight Center to The University of Arizona.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.