The Sally Ride EarthKAM Program

NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) EarthKAM program is launching its eighth year of involving students in the scientific study of Earth from space. The ISS EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) program is designed to inspire student interest in science, math, technology, and geography.

Students have direct access to, and control of, a digital camera mounted on the Space Station. They identify places on Earth to photograph from space, and then use the ISS EarthKAM Web-based interface to calculate exactly when the digital camera should take pictures. Students use their digital images of Earth to study a wide variety of science topics.

The first ISS EarthKAM investigation period for the 2004-5 school year is October 26-29. Additional ISS EarthKAM image acquisition and investigation missions are scheduled in February and April 2005. Participation is free.

Inspired by her Space Shuttle missions, Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut, created the ISS EarthKAM. Ride established EarthKAM in 1996 as a way for students to experience the same fascination and awe she felt looking down at Earth from space.

Since its inception, more than 16,400 scientifically valuable, high-quality digital images of Earth have been taken by thousands of middle-school students from America and other participating ISS countries. “No other NASA program gives students such direct control of an instrument flying on a spacecraft orbiting Earth,” said Dr. Karen Flammer, EarthKAM’s Project Director. “As a result of this hands-on, real world experience, students assume an unparalleled personal ownership in the study and analysis of their Earth photographs.”

NASA expects the excitement and interest generated by participation in ISS EarthKAM to translate into students studying science and engineering in high school and college, and possibly even choosing to participate in agency space exploration activities.

NASA funds ISS EarthKAM. It is coordinated through a partnership between the University of California at San Diego; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; and TERC, a non-profit education research and development organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

To participate in ISS EarthKAM during the 2004-05 school year, visit:

For educator guides, activities, and other educational
resource materials visit:

For information about NASA education programs on the Internet, visit: