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Cradle of Aviation Museum

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Revered NASA Engineer Visits Long Island to Inspire Students About Mars Exploration

Kobie Boykins, Mechanical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is the Lead Designer of the Mars Exploration Rovers Currently in Space

Garden City, NY, January 24, 2018 --( The Cradle of Aviation Museum is proud to welcome back to Long Island, one of the world’s most authoritative figures on Mars, Kobie Boykins, a passionate NASA engineer on the front lines of Mars Exploration. Boykins will be on Long Island on February 6, 2018 for “Exploring Mars: The Next Generation,” an informative and enlightening event about the current scientific investigation of our nearest neighbor, Mars. The “Exploring Mars” event is the first school initiative to be held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum as part of the museum’s “Countdown to Apollo at 50” year-long celebration.

A mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Boykins helped design and build the solar arrays that have enabled the Mars Rovers currently in space to remain on Mars long after their planned 90-day investigative journey. A recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, one of the highest honors given by NASA, Boykins is also intimately involved with the latest venture to Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as Curiosity. Currently making headlines with evidence that conditions on Mars, including the presence of water, once could have supported life, Boykins is a lead supervisor on the initiative.

Now on a mission to bring his passion for space exploration to students and teachers worldwide, Boykins will meet with over 400 students, educators and fascinated space enthusiasts from across Long Island and Brooklyn at the Cradle of Aviation’s unique, hands-on event. Boykins will recount the challenges and triumphs of the Mars Rover Exploration mission, share insight into Curiosity’s findings, and share remarkable images and discoveries that continue to come to us from the Red Planet. Participating schools include South Huntington’s Stimson Middle School, Franklin Square’s Polk Street School, Freeport’s New Visions School and Giblyn Elementary School, Levittown’s Wisdom Lane Middle School, Baldwin High School and Brooklyn Technical High School.

Pediatric patients at the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center will also participate in the event live, by video conference, through the Cradle of Aviation’s support of the Companions in Courage Foundation. Founded by NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine, Companions in Courage connects hospitalized children with their family, friends and heroes.

“Few events in the last decade of space exploration have captured the world’s imagination like NASA’s ongoing Mars Exploration Program,” said Andrew Parton, Executive Director, Cradle of Aviation Museum. “Like his first trip to Long Island in 2014, the students are going to experience Kobie’s passion for space exploration first hand. He is a dynamic and engaging young engineer. We are thrilled to welcome Kobie back to the Cradle.”

Throughout the day students will also take part in an exciting and interactive program utilizing a 25 foot x 25 foot vinyl Giant Mars Map, provided by the Buzz Aldrin Share Space Foundation. Intended to ignite children’s interests in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), Cradle of Aviation educators will lead the students in a host of fun and educational activities and programs focusing on the colorful topography of Mars as well as the landing sites of Mars Rover missions. Cradle educators will motivate the children to develop an understanding for real world STEAM-based concepts using the Red Planet.

Leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Space Program, the Cradle of Aviation’s “Countdown to Apollo at 50” celebration will feature exciting new exhibits, school initiatives and community programs for people of all ages, designed to celebrate the Apollo Space Program and the 50th anniversary of the first successful Apollo mission which took place on July 20, 1969. The celebration will also pay special tribute to Long Island’s critical role in the success of America’s space missions. The Countdown to Apollo at 50 program is sponsored in part with the generous support of the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

A full calendar of “Countdown to Apollo at 50” program events is available at The Cradle of Aviation is home to over 75 air and spacecraft and is located on Charles Lindbergh Blvd. on Museum Row in East Garden City, NY. For more information call 516-572-4111 or visit
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Cradle of Aviation Museum
Audrey Cohen
Epoch 5 Public Relations

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