• New Horizons Group Achievement Award
    New Horizons award
    New Horizons Group Achievement Award

    July 14, 2015: a historic step taken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto, marking the first reconnaissance of objects in the Third Zone of our solar system. Mission Operations for this mission is housed at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. Standing there to witness the event first hand was our own Planetarium Specialist, Patty Seaton, who has been part of the New Horizons Education/Public Outreach team since before the launch in 2006. The Howard B. Owens Science Center (HBOSC) won the grant in early 2000s to produce a planetarium program highlighting the mission which rolled out in 2008, shared with over 50 planetariums nation-wide. Since that time, Planetarium Patty has developed programs for the students of PGCPS highlighting the science behind the mission and introducing students and teachers alike to the wonders of the Pluto system. “Planetarium Patty” spent the week of the Encounter with the other educators around the nation who supported the mission, culminating in a huge Pluto Palooza event on July 18 at JHUAPL. The New Horizons grant was re-awarded to HBOSC last year, and HBOSC hosted their own Pluto Palooza event on June 10, 2016 highlighting student work culminating from several teacher professional learning opportunities. Now, HBOSC and Planetarium Patty are again recognized by NASA in the unprecedented award for Group Achievement, presented to ALL teams involved in the New Horizons project, from mission scientists to public outreach educators. Patty received this award on January 19, 2017, exactly 11 years after the launch of the New Horizons mission: “For exceptional contributions in the successful completion of the initial reconnaissance of the Pluto system, providing humanity’s first close-up look at Pluto and its moons.”