Everywhere I travel, today’s students—the space generation—are ready to take up the challenges of living and working in space and improving life on Earth. The journey to Mars is theirs to take.

Reaching skyward

NASA’s education programs help stimulate and support students at all levels. We also provide lifelong learners around the globe with resources to become science and tech-literate. But perhaps one of our greatest assets is the inspiration our missions provide.

"We need to compete in a knowledge-based economy with a workforce that is passionate about STEM."

Our astronauts aboard the International Space Station are performing experiments in life science and physics that are shattering our expectations. Scientists and students from around the world have research aboard the Station and the astronauts themselves are helping us understand how the human body changes in microgravity.

The fleet

The Orion crew module and the Space Launch System (SLS) now in development will take astronauts to an asteroid and on to Mars and other compelling destinations in our solar system. Orion has already flown to space with a student radiation shielding experiment aboard, and the ongoing tests of the SLS propulsion systems demonstrate to students everywhere that NASA is serious about visiting an asteroid and Mars.

Spacecraft like Dawn, which is now orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, or New Horizons, which soon will reach Pluto, are enlarging our understanding of the solar system and providing amazing opportunities to do and learn new things. Curiosity, now roving Mars, and other spacecraft at the Red Planet are helping us prepare for human missions there in the 2030s.

In 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will travel to deep space to observe some of the oldest light in the universe and transform our understanding of the cosmos.

Technology drives exploration

NASA is developing and flying the cutting edge capabilities for tomorrow’s missions right now, and already developing the next generation of aircraft. To do all this, we need to compete in a knowledge-based economy with a workforce that is passionate about STEM.

I salute the students and educators who are making STEM a vibrant field of study. Opportunities exist for everyone to enlarge their horizons, and I invite learners of all ages to join us on this voyage of discovery.