Solar System Ambassadors (SSA)
Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) is the overarching title given to this project that works with outside volunteers to aid in accomplishing NASA's education and public outreach goals. There are more than 500 SSAs from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of Columbia along with Americans living abroad in Canada and the Netherlands, who share the inspiring story of NASA's space exploration efforts with members of their local communities by conducting a variety of local events. Results of these E/PO efforts are reported to the NASA OEPM system annually. There are three elements within this project: Solar System Ambassadors, Solar System Educators and NASA Nationwide. The budget noted for this project covers most elements therein. Funding comes thematically from Solar System and Mars, with supplemental burden funding from JPL's Solar System & Technology Public Engagement Office. A small amount of additional funding comes from the Discovery Mission Office.
- Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
“The Ambassadors had glowing things to say about this program and frequently say their expectations were met and exceeded. They find value in the online instruction and the online chats that constitute training for the SSA program. They make frequent use of the NASA and JPL websites. They also mentioned that the head of Solar System Ambassadors, Kay Ferrari, was a significant resource and their most consistent and reliable OSS contact. A few of the Ambassadors mentioned that they also would value and benefit from the onsite training that JPL offers the Solar System Educators.
“Overall, the interviews say that Solar System Ambassadors is a program that is effectively run, provides training that is effective, and provides them with enough materials and information to keep them going. But getting what you need does seem to depend on the Ambassador being able to assert their needs and seek out contacts.”