April 2, 2010

Astronaut Sponsors Contest for Greater Houston Area Students

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker is hosting a video competition for students in the greater Houston area. The competition will be featured on ReelNASA's channel of YouTube and will begin Thursday, April 1, and continue through Friday, May 14, 2010.

"I'm excited to offer this competition to students in Houston and the surrounding area," said Walker. "Houston is where I grew up and luckily I didn't have to go far to pursue my dream of becoming an astronaut. I wanted to share my passion and excitement of being an astronaut to the younger generation and find out why they think the United States should continue to explore space. I'm anxious to see what video responses we receive from students in the next month and a half."

Students participating in this unique competition must answer Walker's question, "Why should the United States explore space?" The answer must be recorded on video and posted to YouTube at the following link, www.youtube.com/reelnasa. Walker is asking students to be as creative as possible when answering the question.

Two winners will be selected. One will be up to middle school age and the other from a local high school. The winning selections will be announced the week of May 24, the last week of the school year.

Winners will get to see Walker's launch live from Johnson Space Center, get a behind-the-scenes tour and receive a flown patch after she returns from the International Space Station.

Walker is assigned to Expedition 24/25 for a six-month stay aboard the space station. She will launch to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz.

A native of Houston, Walker graduated from Westbury Senior High. She's been employed at Johnson Space Center since 1987. She was selected as an astronaut in May 2004.

NASA continues the agency's investment in the nation's education programs. It supports the agency's major education goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines that are critical to future space exploration.

For more information about NASA and its educational programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov