Polo Park Middle School eighth-grade science students recently had an opportunity to work with the International Space Station (ISS) on the Sally Ride EarthKAM project.
Sally Ride EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students), named for the first woman in space, is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space.
During the “mission window” days assigned to Polo Park, students worked on choosing locations to be photographed, taking into consideration the ISS orbital path and weather factors. The following week, students went into the Polo Park photo archive, located the photos they requested and evaluated them for target accuracy.
The program is designed to engage students in Earth and space science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications and art. The KidSat camera flew on three space shuttle flights (STS 76, 81 and 86) and then in 1998, the program was renamed EarthKAM. The EarthKAM camera flew on two more shuttle flights (STS 89 and 99) before moving to the ISS.
Sally Ride died in 2012, and in 2013, NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM, which remains a permanent payload on the ISS, supporting missions annually.
Check out EarthKam images at www.earthkam.ucsd.edu.
ABOVE: Sally Ride EarthKAM images of Australia.