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"By attaching KidSat to the space shuttle, the Russian space station Mir and to NASA's future international space station, students will be able to participate in space exploration as astronauts and cosmonauts broadcast their activities and observations from these space platforms," Ride said.

The images children are able to capture from the orbiting platforms will be used in their studies of geography and history as well as in mathematics and Earth sciences. In the design and mission operations part of the program, children will learn basic principles of gravity, geometry and scales of the Earth. Students will be able to study an array of current events -- such as the flooding of the Mississippi, the oil fires of Kuwait or the advance of deforestation in the Amazon -- to understand the impact of human activity on the environment. History, in turn, can be recreated by imaging, for example, regions of the East Coast where famous battles of the Civil War were fought. 

The KidSat program became possible just recently, Way noted, when Russia became a collaborative partner in the U.S. international space station team. The orbital inclination of the future space station, as well as many shuttle flights visiting Mir, will be matched to that of Mir's, thereby bringing most of the United States into the range of remote-sensing instruments.

Development of the KidSat program will belong to America's youth from start to finish, said [[strikethrough]]Dr. Betty[[/strikethrough]] Betsy Stork of the Johns Hopkins University [[strikethrough]] Center for Talented Youth[[/strikethrough]] Institute for the Advancement of Learning, Baltimore, Md. KidSat instruments will be defined by the children to meet their own educational needs. 

"Once the instrument packages are in orbit, children will be responsible for operating them and selecting regions of Earth to image," Stork said. "By partitioning the space shuttle and space station orbits, tens of schools will be able to operate the mission at any given time. Images will be analyzed not only by the students who captured them, but by any student interested in exploration or learning about new places in the world."

This summer several groups of students at various grade levels are beginning to design [[strikethrough]]the space exploration program[[/strikethrough]] KidSat. A group of undergraduate students at JPL and the California Space Institute are working with technical staff from JPL and the Johnson Space Center to put together KidSat design options for the Shuttle, the Russian Mir space station and the future international space station. The JPL interns are being sponsored by NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program; the California Space Institute students are being supported by [[strikethrough]]a grant from that institution[[/strikethrough]] space grant (?)

"The goal for this summer is to summarize the design options on the Internet using Mosaic and on a CD-ROM so that the ideas can be assessed by children of all ages," Way said. "Feedback from many children will be used to select specific KidSat designs for the cameras, video and remote-sensing instruments."
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