Clovis teacher, student to be VIPs at NASA launch

The Fresno BeeNovember 16, 2013 

A teacher and student from Clovis will be in Florida on Monday to watch the launch of a spacecraft that will study the atmosphere on Mars.

Kendia Herrington, a teacher at Alta Sierra Intermediate, and Callie Carbajal, a Buchanan High School student, will watch the lift-off of MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile EvolutioN) from the VIP section at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Callie's family also will attend the launch.

MAVEN's launch is the second mission selected for NASA's Mars Scout Program. During the mission, measurements of the Martian atmosphere will be obtained, which will help scientists understand the historic climate change of the planet. NASA anticipates a Mars orbit in September 2014.

Herrington, a science teacher, is one of 30 teachers in the U.S. trained as a MAVEN Educator Ambassador, allowing her and her guests to watch the launch. Three other teachers in California were selected for the ambassador program, but Herrington is the only teacher selected south of Stockton. The program is funded by NASA and focuses on in-depth learning about Earth and space.

Herrington participated in a five-day workshop in Berkeley and incorporated MAVEN Education Ambassador lessons throughout the semester.

Herrington chose Callie as her guest because of the student's interest in NASA. Callie is an Nspire student with NASA and spent a summer participating in an online student community.

Herrington and the Carbajals were in Pasadena last summer to observe the landing on Mars of NASA's Curiosity Rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is mission control for Curiosity Rover.

MAVEN is scheduled to launch at 10:28 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday.

Check for MAVEN updates.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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