Press Releases  |  5.1.2017

Challenger Center Hosts Events at Humans to Mars Summit

WASHINGTON – May 2, 2017 – Challenger Center has announced it will hold a special STEM session for a group of local students and also host a panel to discuss the importance of STEM education during the first day of the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators. They will be the ones who step foot on Mars, be named mission leaders and celebrate the milestones.” said Lance Bush, president and CEO. “We must all do our part to ignite the potential within each student so that they can reach these goals, and we’re excited to work with these local D.C. students to offer inspiration during this year’s summit.”

Ninth-grade students from E.L. Haynes Public Charter School will take part in a hands-on activity that was developed in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation, Boeing and Orbital ATK. Students will engage in a simulated Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launch to send a payload to Mars. They will manage everything from tracking storms and trajectory to ensuring that communication and electrical systems are performing as expected. They will then be asked to conceptualize what components a future deep space habitat may need for a trip to the Red Planet and participate in an engineering design challenge to sketch and model creative possibilities.

Bush will also moderate a STEM education panel – Inspiring the Martians of Tomorrow – to discuss what is happening and what needs to happen to prepare today’s students to become the professionals responsible for setting foot on Mars. Panelists will include: Janet Ivey Creator, Janet’s Planet; Jeri L. Swogger , Director of Elementary Instruction, Frederick County Public Schools; and Robin Thurman ,Director of Workforce and Industrial Base Development, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). The panel is part of Challenger Center’s Martians of Tomorrow campaign to raise awareness about the importance of STEM education and inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators.

The Humans to Mars summit is a comprehensive Mars exploration conference that addresses the major technical, scientific, and policy challenges of getting humans to Mars. For a complete Humans to Mars Summit schedule, visit Individuals interested in attending can use the discount code ChallengerMars to register. For additional information about Challenger Center, visit

About Challenger Center
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its network of Challenger Learning Centers provide more than 250,000 students annually with experiential education programs to engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. These programs strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L. Connect on Facebook @ChallengerCtr and Twitter @ChallengerCtr.

# # #