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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3)

ARKANSAS—November 8, 2019….Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today welcomed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to Arkansas’s Third District. Womack and Bridenstine traveled throughout Northwest Arkansas to learn about local aerospace research, discuss science education, and share more information about NASA’s work and mission. Additional details about the visit, which included meetings with Arkansas engineers, a science symposium with elementary and high school students, and meetings on NASA-funded research at the University of Arkansas, can be found below.

Congressman Womack said, “Aerospace research and science education is happening right here in the Third District, and it’s amazing to learn more about its connection to NASA. It was a privilege to show Administrator Bridenstine around our community and have him provide insights to students and researchers about the next age of space exploration. Ingenuity is a cornerstone of our nation’s success, and I look forward to continuing to build NASA’s partnerships in the Natural State.”

NASA Administrator Bridenstine said, “Northwest Arkansas is home to some of our country’s brightest engineers, researchers and students, and NASA is pleased to partner with the University of Arkansas in developing the next generation of STEM leaders through NASA-funded research. Congressman Womack’s leadership on the House Appropriations Committee and House Committee on the Budget will ensure that Arkansas plays an integral role in advancing America’s leadership in space, science and exploration. I would also like to thank Congressman Womack for the opportunity to share with his constituents about NASA’s Artemis program, which will put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.”

Visit Highlights:

Meeting with Team Zopherus and NWA Space: NASA hosted a national competition that called for people to design a 3D-printed living space that would support four astronauts over a one-year mission on Mars. The first-place prize was awarded to Team Zopherus from Rogers, Arkansas. Their design included the use of a moving printer that deploys rovers to retrieve local materials. Rep. Womack and Administrator Bridenstine met with the team members to discuss their project, innovation, and the future of space exploration on Mars. They also discussed the work of NWA Space, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing a science tech center with a planetarium and observatory to Northwest Arkansas.

Arkansas Student Science Symposium: Rep. Womack and Administrator Bridenstine joined hundreds of students from several local elementary and high schools for a science symposium event. Students hosted a panel where they asked questions about STEM education, aerospace research, the work of NASA, and how to pursue careers as engineers and astronauts. Administrator Bridenstine also shared information on NASA’s long-term goals, which include landing the first woman astronaut and next male astronaut on the Moon by 2024, advancing the Artemis lunar exploration program, and sending astronauts to Mars. Bridenstine and Womack also emphasized the importance of STEM education during the visit.

University of Arkansas NASA Research: Rep. Womack and Administrator Bridenstine had the opportunity to sit down with University of Arkansas professors and students to discuss science research and NASA-funded initiatives at the institution. They then visited the Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, where they met with PhD students working on NASA-related research. Some of their projects include laboratory and computer simulations of Pluto, Venus, Mars, and Saturn’s icy moon Titan. Before wrapping up, they also stopped by an engineering class to talk with students and answer questions about future space missions and technology innovation.