By Kalwinder Kaur
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) hosted an education program that involved VIP guests and NASA and JPL officials, 53 high school students from the i.am College Track Center in Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles, and Curiosity mission members who paid homage to the first human to walk on the Moon, Astronaut Neil Armstrong. The event also marked the release of the world's first song from ‘Mars’- the Red Planet, back to Earth.
At the same time, will.i.am's i.am.angel Foundation and Discovery Education, the supplier of digital resources to K-12 classrooms, declared an innovative youth engagement initiative that focuses on providing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education to a large number of nationwide students. Highlighting NASA assets like the Mars Curiosity Rover, i.am.STEAM program aims at encouraging and developing the future generation of innovators. With funds from i.am.angel Foundation and its partners, the program will be conducted by Discovery Education.
"Reach For The Stars (Mars Edition)" has been originally composed by musician and humanitarian will.i.am. The song traveled roundtrip to Mars and returned to Earth. The technical process of placing the song on the Mars Science Lab Curiosity rover, on Mars, and its return to Earth was described by NASA researchers.
Composed and produced by will.i.am, "Reach For The Stars (Mars Edition)" promotes STEAM education among youth. Along with will.i.am, the song was featured by two youth choirs in the studio and additional vocals were provided by recording artist Lil Jon. Recording was done at Metropolis Studios in London and Record Plant in Los Angeles.
The event was lively with leading experts and program speakers.
Before the official program remarks were featured on NASA TV, the participating team took a guided tour of the JPL campus, and saw the model rover spacecraft. NASA and JPL scientists and engineers provided information and motivation on STEM careers.