NASA Space Science Day (NSSD) is an out of school experiential learning event for middle school students led by university student space science mentors. NASA Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) scientists train the university students to share space science with the younger students. The student mentors come from college and universities throughout the United States. The purpose of NSSD is:
- To share the science and engineering excitement of NASA Science Mission Directorate’s exploration of the solar system with students.
- To inspire students through career awareness to pursue a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM).
- For students to learn how science questioning helps determine space mission direction
- To tie science and engineering together through thematic space science activities by engaging students in fun NASA science and engineering hands-on experiences.
- To have college and university students serve as space science mentors at NSSD and other local events as space science activity coordinators.
- To have middle school students experience a university campus setting.
- To give younger students the confidence to say, “If I stay in school, I can become a scientist or an engineer.”