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Charles Schweighauser
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cschw1@uis.edu

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UIS to host program on Mars Exploration Rovers

March 19, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Nancy Atkinson, a representative of NASA’s Solar System Ambassador Program, will present a multimedia introduction to the Mars Exploration Rovers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  The presentation is sponsored by UIS’ Environmental Studies department and is free and open to the public. 

Atkinson’s presentation will give an overview of the Mars Exploration Rovers program and provide insight into NASA’s recent announcement that the rovers have uncovered further evidence that water once flowed on Mars.

Atkinson, a resident of Rochester, is one of nearly 400 Solar System Ambassadors nationwide. The Ambassadors program is a public outreach effort sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a research and development center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Ambassadors are space enthusiasts from various walks of life who wish to communicate the excitement and recent discoveries of space exploration to people in their local communities.

NASA selects Ambassadors based on their backgrounds and their expressed plans for public outreach activities. Ambassadors are provided with training and educational materials and receive briefings from mission scientists.

Atkinson is a public librarian in Rochester and teaches classes about space exploration for Quest Youth Learning and Enrichment at Lincoln Land Community College. Also a free-lance writer, she has had articles on space and astronomy published by Space.com and various newspapers in the Midwest.

For more information on the Solar System Ambassadors Program, go to www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/index.html.  For more information on the presentation at UIS, contact Charles Schweighauser, professor of Astronomy/Physics, at 206-6721.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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