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Mission to Mars: Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education launch space challenge and STEM education programme for UK schools

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As the first manned mission to Mars draws nearer, UK students are being offered a unique opportunity to join the race to the red planet- by designing a space habitation module for NASA.

The challenge – the first of its kind in the UK – is being launched today by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education as part of a new national STEM education programme: Generation Beyond. Unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Gloucestershire, the exciting initiative will deliver space exploration resources to UK schools, inspiring the next generation of innovators, explorers and astronauts to pursue STEM careers.

The Generation Beyond programme combines technology and education to bring the science of space into classrooms as never before, equipping today’s pupils to make tomorrow’s missions a reality. Global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin has supported every NASA mission to Mars over the last four decades and is currently developing technologies to send humans to deep space in the 2030s. Discovery Education is one of the UK’s leading digital learning services, providing dynamic content which enriches the delivery of STEM education.

Open to primary school pupils age 9-11, the Generation Beyond Challenge asks students to create a short video, explaining how they would design a habitation module for the first crew to Mars. Pupils can enter individually or as a group, with two £5,000 STEM grants and iPads among the prizes.

Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK said:

“As a child, I always dreamed I would go to the moon but for today’s young people, thanks to the advances made in space exploration by companies like Lockheed Martin, getting to Mars in their lifetime could become a reality. We want to inspire our next generation of engineers, space explorers and astronauts and Generation Beyond is a great way to teach pupils about the opportunities that STEM careers can offer and help them to develop new skills in a fun and innovative way.”

Lewis Bronze MBE, Founder and Director of Content at Discovery Education UK said:

“Discovery Education is delighted to be partnering with Lockheed Martin to bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to UK schools. Generation Beyond will bring pupils ever closer to a new era of space exploration, helping teachers to ignite interest in STEM subjects and preparing today’s pupils to lead tomorrow’s innovation and discovery.”

Available at no cost to schools, the Generation Beyond programme includes an online space curriculum for teachers and families, with digital resources such as lesson plans, educator guides and family activities. The dynamic content will introduce a wide variety of STEM- focused careers in space exploration, compare and contrast differences between life in space and on Earth, and illustrate the challenges of a future Mars mission.

Generation Beyond was launched in the US in August 2016, where it has already reached over 1.5 million students.

The UK Generation Beyond Video Challenge opens today – 14th July 2017 – and closes on 15th December 2017. Schools should visit to enter.

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